There are certain things, that when said aloud, will bring most any conversation to a screeching halt. You know the things I mean. Stuff such as, “Whoops, my hair is on fire…” or “Whoa! Is that Dana Delany over there?”
Personally, I have an intense fondness for the Dana Delany comment, but then we already knew that, right? Well, if you didn’t, you do now… Oops… Guess that was sorta awkward, eh?
The thing is, there are several such phrases that can bring a conversation to a sudden halt. Case in point…
I was prattling on endlessly with my PA the other day. As it happens, the o-spring is out of school for the summer, so she was sitting there fiddling about with her Nook or some such since it is loaded up with a ton of summer reading for her. Since she’s all kinds of brilliant and has a high school level command of the English language, I often forget that she’s still just a tween, so my filters aren’t always in place. In this instance, they weren’t, and I was talking to my PA about Merrie Axemas, and In The Bleak Midwinter, giving him a synopsis of the stories, how they related, differed, and other such nonsense.
Well… Anyone who has read Merrie Axemas knows that there is a dismemberment involved. Merrie. Axe. Mas… You get the idea. So moving right along, as we are talking the o-spring pipes up and says:
“Did you know that when your head is chopped off you still live for eleven more seconds?”
This really shouldn’t – and didn’t – surprise me. After all, she’s my kid… But that’s not the thing that stopped the conversation. I mean, think about it. I research all manner of nastiness for my thriller novels… After all, I write about serial and/or spree killers for the most part. That’s why I’m a member of the HWA, and not the “Grandma’s Cozy Knitting Happily Ever After Ending Whodunit Club”…
But on with the story… you see, since both my PA and I know my kid, we just continued the convo, involving her at this point. Mainly discussing the fact that 11 seconds might be a bit of a stretch, but that there was some evidence to indicate that the brain continued to function very briefly following decapitation.
This then turned to different ways of dying, and before I knew it my PA and my daughter were into a discussion of which way to go would be the least traumatic. They got onto beheading, suffocation, drowning, etc, and I added my two cents, that being the fact that I was under the impression that suffocation wasn’t a particularly pleasant way to go, no matter HOW the suffocation happened. That’s when my PA regaled us with a tale of how he had almost drowned – or come somewhat close – when he was a child, and how it had gone from a fearful struggle to a simple calm… Well, obviously he didn’t drown, or he wouldn’t have been there having weird death conversations with my tween daughter.
But this was when the conversation stopper came.
Darling daughter pipes up, “Yeah, I almost drowned a few years ago.”
You could hear a pin drop. I stared at her. She stared at me. My PA stared at her. She stared at him. We all stared at each other.
Finally I broke down and said, “When was this?”
“A few years ago at blankity-blank pool,” she replied.
She shrugged. “It was before I knew how to swim and my friend took me to the deep end and left me there because she didn’t know that I couldn’t swim.”
I stared some more. “Why am I just now hearing about this?”
“So, did the lifeguard jump in and save you or something? I mean, it seems to me they would have told us about it when we picked you up from summer day camp.”
“No,” she said. “My friend just took me back to the shallow end.”
“Well, did you start sinking or what? How did you almost drown?”
She thought about it a second and then said, “Well… I might’ve kinda exaggerated…”
Guess I can’t complain. She’s my kid. She got it honest…
More to come…