I have recently become convinced that the propensity toward blue humor is inborn in the human race. Children are naturally crass comedians. They are born, not made. They have to be taught civility, because their inclinations almost always run to the opposite. Take my kids. My husband and I have never ONCE mooned anyone in our lives. We have never told a story that ended with the words "and then I gave them a pressed ham." The only time we ever talk about bottoms is when we are threatening to whup 'em. But those little hooligans have somehow figured out that BUTTS ARE FUNNY. Showing someone your butt? REALLY FUNNY. And taking pictures of a butt? COMIC GENIUS. Wait...what's that? Yes, today my kids made some artistic decisions that raised my eyebrow. My five year old ran in, shrieking, "JARVIS TOOK A PICTURE OF MY BUTT! AND MY PENIS! AND A PICTURE OF ME NAKED!" He was THRILLED. This was the craziest thing EVER, and they had DONE IT. I was paralyzed. Because my brain was flooded with thoughts about society, about fear, about What That Looks Like, and What It Could Indicate, and how do I explain, once again, about privacy?
I tried to explain, in a voice that sounded just like a losing battle, why we don't take pictures like that. That mommy and daddy could get in trouble. I then asked to see the pictures and that's when my kids called my bluff.
What can I say? My kid's butt IS funny. His wee genital region poking forth from his corduroys provoked me to snicker, and when I saw the picture of his joyous face illuminated over his unclothed frame, I could not cease the giggles. My reprimands held absolutely no water. They knew they had hit mommy's inappropriate funny bone. I tried, once again, to explain that pictures like that could get people into trouble, and my boy asked me "If I took a picture of a booger on my finger would that get me in trouble too?"
And I dropped it. Because when you are five years old, there is no difference between a picture of your wiener and a picture of a booger. And right now, there shouldn't be.
Someday I will have to talk to my kids a little more seriously about why our bodies our private, and how pictures like that can be exploited and exploitative. About bad people. The talk will probably have to happen sooner rather than later. But tonight, when asked about booger photography, I just solemnly replied "Yes, that could get you into trouble too." Because it can. WITH YOUR MOTHER.