Thursday, December 1

The 'rents

My parents crack me up. We were in the car, on our way to meeting Jimmy for linner, when we had the following conversation:

My dad inquired, "Can people be toast?"


My mom clarified, "We were reading the Korean newspaper, and the person who teaches English phrases said that some person did something bad, so he was toast."

After thinking for a bit, I realized what they were talking about. "I think you mean it like this. If I'm afraid I'll mess something up, I might say, 'I'd better try my best, because if I don't get this right, I'll be toast.' It means I'll be in trouble."

I forgot who asked, but the question, "Can you say you're toasted?" was asked.

"No, it's just toast."

"Is it an adjective?"

"No, I believe it's a noun."

"That doesn't make sense." My dad didn't seem happy with my explanation.

Ever since I was a kid, my parents always worked on perfecting their language skills. "You have to tell us if we say something wrong, or if our pronunciation is incorrect." I used to try to hide my giggles when I pointed out the mistakes of their Koreanized English.

All that hard work paid off. Their English is quite good. I'm not sure how I feel about this "teacher" from the Korean newspaper, though. My parents have been asking me about some pretty funky and/or antiquated phrases lately. And knowing them, they'll actually try to use them in everyday conversation.

I decided to change the subject, and I threw a pop quiz their way. "Do you recognize who this is?" I was playing Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" in the car. "Let's see who gets it first."

My dad was certain my mom would win. She guessed, "Is it Madonna?"


After listening for a bit, my dad knew. "Michael Jackson."

"Very good! Appa wins."

My mom wasn't going to give up so easily. "It sounds like a woman."

"No," my dad informed her, "It's a typical Michael Jackson beat."

Did my dad really just say that? Does he really know what he's talking about? I guess I should give him some credit. I did once catch him raising the roof.

Maybe I should've just stuck to talking about toast.


Anonymous said...

Once again, great entry Jenn. The "Live. Just Live" entry was extremely moving and now this one is really funny. It also made me think of my dad and his attempts at American/pop culture. Do you know my dad can sing the chorus of New Order's "Shellshock". I think our dads need to meet up for a Jeopardy Top 40 music lightning round. Papa vs Appa. Exciting.

F. from NYC.

Parisjasmal said...

Awww I want to give your parents a hug!

jennipah said...

Papa vs Appa - love it! I think my dad can take yours. Just warnin' ya. And then everyone can hug 'em. They're the cutest. :)

Meghan said...

That was a really cute story :)