One recent evening the boys were watching television while I made dinner. Sarah, who was reading in the living room, expressed concern that the show was inappropriate.
I wasn't terribly worried, on the theory that a show airing at 6pm on Cartoon Network couldn't be too off color. But you can never be certain, and Sacha is already plenty cheeky. With two older siblings controlling the remote, his viewing habits tend to be a bit lowest common denominator. I checked in to find the boys watching Adventure Time, which I have vague recollections of as being somewhat surreal and not half bad.
This was not the response Sarah was looking for, because she followed me back to the kitchen to suggest I put on a different show. I allowed this line of inquiry to continue by asking for examples of objectionable language, but she demurred.
Me: Are they using curse words?
Sarah: Not exactly.
Me: Then what kinds of words are they?
Sarah: More like pre-curses.
Me: Pre-curses! Precursor curses. Like...dodo?
Sarah: No. Like...stupid.
Sarah: Or jerk.
Me: Well, that's nothing he hasn't heard before.
Sarah: Or, 'This is jacked up.'
Me: Actually, it might be pretty funny to hear Sacha say that.
Sarah: Yeah, but sometimes they say things like, 'Go to hell.'
Me: That wouldn't be good.
Some of Sacha's most amusing utterances have been appropriated from television dialogue. I've seen him shake his fist and shout 'Curse you!' at offending inanimate objects, and he favors 'I have no i-clue,' an amalgam of 'I have no idea' and 'I don't have a clue.' Last week while taking a bath he told me that karate takes skill, and practice, which I especially like because although it was lifted from a delightful book, it sounds like something overheard on a late night infomercial.
And thus we devised a litmus test for appropriate television content — would this amuse or embarrass coming from Sacha's mouth? It could make a good drinking game; play at your own risk.