But in my rendition, it is called “I Heard Three Ships.”
Or to remain true to details, I should give the title “My Girls Heard Three Ships.” Because, what happened is that, I actually spoke the word ‘ship’ three times (this week!)
and um…OK, so it was not actually the word ‘ship’ that was uttered with much intensity and exclamation from my mouth.
But, my girls think that is what I said…
And you have to know that this is such an off topic for me to write about; such a remark is just not part of my spoken vocabulary (don’t get me wrong; I do have plenty of other issues with my tone and my words, but somehow, it has never been in the 4 letter area).
The last time I can recollect actually saying such a profanity, out loud, was during my senior year in high school when I was on the tennis team. A girlfriend of mine and I were challenged by some fellow guy teammates to a match. They were behaving super cocky and we had determined in our minds there was NO way they would defeat us. As we played on, the game grew in intensity and was drawing quite the crowd from other folks on the courts (all cheering for us girls, by the way). And after a long time of great effort to keep victory in our sight, we were finally at the last set. I know there was a continuous exchange of advantage in/advantage out points between us, but I don’t really remember how the end played out. The final game details are all a bit hazy in my mind because, it is the incident that happened AFTER it was over that stands out in my memory. It was when they won the last point (or maybe we lost the last point) that I shouted out, in my loudest voice ever, “Oh SH _ _ !” This shocked everyone because no one would have ever imagined that quiet little JoAnna, who rarely speaks anything at all, could have just said that! Me neither!! I couldn’t believe that I had 1) even used an expletive AND 2) done so at the top of my lungs. So I laid down on my back in the middle of the court in utmost embarrassment, laughing uncontrollably at this completely unexpected outburst. I brought the racket over my face, trying to hide from all those around me. But hiding beneath a tennis racket has the same effect as using it as an umbrella – none. And I realized there was nothing that would save me from this moment of mortification. Later as I reflected on the day, I was able to chalk it all up as just being part of adolescence and those embarrassing moments that go with it. I affirmed to myself something like that would never happen again because as I matured in age, I would learn composure and dignity in my choice of expression.
Because three times this past week the word ‘ship’ surfaced from the depths within and freely set sail right out of my mouth. The first time was last Sunday, driving home from church. I was cruising on the highway in Rob’s truck when this little tiny car decided it would switch lanes and pull smack dab in front of me. I couldn’t believe the nerve! How completely shocked and caught off guard at the audacity of this extremely small piece of metal trying to pull in front of a tank-like hunk of steel (traveling at full speed, mind you)! So my brain quickly did an inventory of all the words stored up that I could use to accurately capture my feelings at the moment and presto, that was the word it came up with; and so out it came. Fortunately, that is not what the girls heard me say. Halle questioned me by asking if I just said ‘ship.’ I thought quickly and well… Perhaps I “could” have said that. I didn’t tell her ‘no’ because I could just piggy back on her understanding of the situation. I could continue on with the idea of how using the word ‘ship’ could be an appropriate exclamation here. I tried to explain that this truck is like a big ship and would crush any little boat that got in front of it. And doesn’t that person steering the little ‘boat’ in front of me know how big we are in this ship; we just don’t have the ability to stop quickly enough; we could have killed him…. because we are a very big SHIP! There was a moment of silence, for clearly they were trying to process in their innocent little minds this crazy explanation of mine. Then Dee brought up the remembrance of a movie where someone else used that word. She recalled that ‘In Fly Away Home,’ the dad said ‘oh ship’ also. “No,” Gracie corrected her, “He said, ‘holy ship!’ Thanks girls for backing me up here and allowing me to wallow guilt-free in my false testimony!
Since then there have been two additional times where, in my disbelief and frustration, that word was blurted out of my mouth. Both times were in the presence of my girls and both times it was followed with the question, “did you say ‘ship’ again?” It took some cleverness on my part as to why ‘ship’ would be a comment when I could not get Dee’s seatbelt buckled. And it was really a stretch of my imagination to explain why I would use it in the kitchen when I heard a big crash and thought something had broken (it turns out it was just a metal pan shifting in the sink…) But I did it! Craftiness was displayed (or is it wickedness?) My girls are so trusting that they haven’t questioned me yet on my explanations. I am not sure how all this will come back to ‘sink’ me, but I am sure I have not seen the end of all this.