Last week we watched ET as a family. We thought about going to see The Last Mimzy, but Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 54% which didn't seem to warrant spending $25 admission (plus snacks) for the five of us to go. Instead we decided to go rent ET (97%).
I remembered going to see it in the theater with my family and our neighbors. We had a bunch of neighbors with kids the same age as my siblings (I was the youngest at home AND on the block) and we all did everything together--vacations, movies, whathaveyou. We all went to see ET. It was summer. Everyone liked it. Everyone cried. And I sobbed. I bawled. I remember being packed in the hot sticky Aspen station wagon with a load of older kids and crying my eyes out while they rolled theirs at me.
I looked at the production date on ET. It was 1982. I was a second grader, just like Phoebe, who, like her mother, cried like a baby on my lap when ET told Elliot to "be good" and boarded his space craft. It is still a fantastic movie. Go watch it.
Sunday morning we were eating breakfast before church. Paul was long gone to the office and the kids and I were sitting around the table just like every Sunday.
Phoebe: Hey, Mom. In ET when Michael's friends are making fun of Elliot and asking about his goblin and Elliot says he's a spaceman and they don't believe him...? Well, the one guy says, "What planet is he from? Uranus? Uranus? Get it? Uranus? Ur Anus? Get it?" And he laughs? Remember that? Well, I don't get it.
Emily: (taking a deep breath, stalling to think and keep from laughing) I will explain it to you, but you should know that it is kind of a naughty joke. (the children's eyes light up) Uranus is a planet in our solar system. There's Earth, Mars, Neptune.. (Phoebe starts singing a song which names all the planets, pronouncing Uranus with the accent on the first syllable, not the second)..exactly. So the kid asks if ET is from Uranus, which is a planet. But the word "anus" is the hole in your bottom...where poop comes out.
Children: (mouths and eyes as big as saucers, laughing) What?!?!
Emily: So he is making a joke--a pun--on the words anus and Uranus. It sounds like he is asking if he is from Uranus, which is okay and not funny, but what he's really saying is "is ET from your anus?" (confused faces, not quite getting it) "Is ET from your bottom?" (slightly amused, still not seeing what the big deal is) "Is ET from your butt hole?" (and they all fall apart, half horrified, half delighted).
Moses: (now running in circles waving his spoon above his head) Bad word! Mom said a bad word! You can't say that!
Emily: I know! Phoebe wanted me to explain the joke. I told you it was naughty. But can you see how that is funny? (They all nod, unsure if it is okay to admit seeing the humor). Yes it is funny, but naughty, and not a joke WE will make.
Oliver: If his Mom heard him say that he'd have to go to his room.
And I was left thinking, as I often do, "this is my life? really? it is MY job to explain these things? and I'm doing it with a straight face?" I felt like this was my April Fool--having to explicitly explain the Uranus/Your Anus joke.
I did play an April Fool of my own. We had had a talk about April Fools--about how we like NICE jokes. We like happy surprises, not anything that is going to make people mad or hurt feelings. "Because, kids, if you play a mean joke on your friends, what will your friends want to do?" In unison: "Play a mean joke on you!" Sometimes I feel like I'm the host of some demented children's show on PBS ("can you say 'anus' kids? repeat after me!").
I bought angel food cake and frosting. I added food coloring to the white frosting until it looked as close to American Singles as I could get it. I sliced the angel food thin, melted some butter in a frying pan, and whipped up some faux grilled cheese sandwiches. It was convincing. Of course it was convincing, I read about it in Martha Stewart Living. My sister-in-law, who dropped by after church only said, 'that cheese is weird color" but Paul stuck an elbow in her ribs.
Unfortunately, the frosting was dripping and Moses licked it off his fingers before I could orchestrate everyone taking a bite at the same time. They all examined their sandwiches and licked their fingers and Phoebe said, "April Fool?" Phoebe and Mo had a good laugh and couldn't believe it was cake and not bread--it looked just like bread! But Ollie never stopped to say anything. He was too busy cramming that cake/sandwich down his craw.