Once when I was in first grade, or maybe kindergarten, they were going to show the Benji movie on TV. It was Christmastime. A time when you can feel good about a little doggie being captured by kidnappers. So the family gathered on the bed (my parents always kept a little teeny tv up on top of really high armoires and you had to crane your neck to see it.) and we popped popcorn. The movie started and I started getting very upset about poor little Benji. And then I cried. And my dad said, “This is supposed to be a fun night for the family – watching a movie and eating popcorn. Don’t cry!”
So the next year, they play Benji again – at Christmastime, when my emotions were running high anyway and I was probably on overdrive anticipating the awesome gifts my grandmothers were going to send me. So Dad says, “We can watch Benji again, but you can’t cry, okay? It’s supposed to be fun!” (Dad was not against crying – just against his daughter sniffling through the whole Benji show and dripping salt tears on the popcorn and he wanted to reassure me that Benji would survive). I said, no, no, I won’t cry. I know what happens and everything comes out okay. So we started watching the movie again. And Benji ran up those cement steps outside the white house and he gets inside and the kidnappers are there and… oh no! A tear! A tear falls and Dad says, “Great.”
We never watched Benji again. My daughter found the original Benji book at a Goodwill and it’s been sitting on our steps for the past three weeks. Everytime I pass it I think about crying about poor Benji. And the secret I learned later on… The easiest way to get my dad to cry was to bring up sad animal stories. And I bet his popcorn was really salty too.
The reason I named this post “My New Slang” is because I kept reading the title and then realized it sounds a lot like a slang phrase, “Oh, for the love of Benji, would you stop it!!!”