When I was a kid, my mom had a funny way of talking sometimes. For instance, when we were having spaghetti for dinner she would say “We’re having Italian (pronounced EyeTalian).” I in return would argue, “Mom, it’s not “Eye”taly it’s Italy. The “I” is short. Therefore, the food cannot be called ‘I’talian”. Yet she would persist. This was how she was raised and regardless my protestations, she continued calling the food by the incorrect name.
The same is true between the doll and I, I suppose. She likes to think she’s correcting me and I prefer to think she’s wrong. Only we’re not arguing over words, per se, but rather over my word choice for the familiar bioluminescence bug that shows up in my neck of the woods, every summer around this time of year. That’s right, the Lampyridae him/herself, also known as the lightning bug. “Mom their called fireflies”. She corrected me. “No, they’re called lightning bugs”. I retorted. “Firefly!” “Lightning!” I said in reply again. Now imagine enduring an entire car ride home with her trying to convince me that I am wrong in my assertion. “Doll, I’ve been calling this bug lightning since I was younger than you. They will always be a lightning bug to me…” “But they’re fireflies, mom. Everyone calls them that”. She argued.”First of all, they aren’t flies, their beetles. Yes, they fly but aren’t a member of the “fly” species, so they can’t be flies. And second, since when did you want to be like everyone else?” I came back. “That’s not what I meant. You’re just being difficult…and wrong, by the way.” She cried.
Her father who was forced to endure this conversation by virtue of being trapped in the car with us, piped up with his own two cents on the subject, “Or you can sound like me when I was a kid and drop a the ‘g’ and just say lightnin’ ” We both looked at him and shook our heads.”You stay out of this, you’re not helping…” I replied and then turned my attention back to my illiterate daughter. “Doll, this is how I was taught, what I’ve been saying forever and you telling me I’m wrong won’t change things either. So as far as you know, they’re lightning bugs!” “Oh, my God Mom, Firefly! Firefly! Firefly! Firefly….” and on and on she droned. “You know, you’re an obstinate kid. When did you become so obstinate?” I questioned and she laughed. “I’ll tell you what doll…you stop correcting me and I’ll stop correcting you…deal?” Smiling back at me she replied, “Heck no, I like seeing you get flustered, especially when you’re wrong!”
You know, my mom was right…some words don’t need to be changed or explained, especially to obstinate teenaged girls… LIGHTNING BUGS!