Long gone are the days of excuse me. Now we have moved on to “What?”

Like Nick’s many facial expressions and ways of pointing as a youngster, one word now can be said in 35 different ways with as many different meanings.


It can mean anything from “What is that?” to “I didn’t hear you,” to “Why are we doing this?” to “I’m ignoring what you are saying and will continue to repeat this word until you give up and leave me alone.”

Nick and I have had five-minute conversations in which the only word either of us utters is what, over and over. He’s asking some coded question and I’m trying to get him to give me more information.

His intonation and facial expressions make all the difference. And he’s got those in spades.

Scrunched eyebrows and an old man’s voice – What?

Sweet smile and a lilt in his voice – What?

Resistance-is-futile monotone – What?

The best part is that it still makes me laugh. We can say what to each other all day long and it’s like a joke that only we understand.

I fear the day he learns the power of the word “Why?”


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