One Halloween I witnessed a conversation between two young teenage girls–my daughter Hailey and her friend Allison. I had just picked them up from another friend’s house, whose school orchestra concert they had attended, and we were driving through our neighborhood on our way home.
“Hi girls. How was the concert?”
“It was really fun,” said Hailey.
“Everyone dressed up in costumes,” said Allison.
“Cool,” I said.
“That’s Lonnie’s house,” said Hailey accusingly as we drove by.
“Oh, he’s so weird. They don’t even have TV!” said Allison.
“Did they play Halloween music?” I asked, trying to steer us back to the concert topic.
“You mean cable?” Hailey said, now multitasking between me and Allison.
“No, they don’t even have a TV!” said Allison. “Nobody watches TV in that house!”
Hailey said, “Yeah, they played a lot of cool stuff, Dad” Then, to Allison, “My GOD, how do they LIVE?!”
Allison said, “I don’t know. Hailey, I have threeeee fishes.”
At this point the conversation began to get more complicated, and it was hard for me to keep up. The girls continued to speak to me briefly when I tried to interact, as if I were a dog begging for attention, then they would quickly go back to their own conversation. The “three fishes” thing was some sort of inside joke.
“And he wears those strange pants,” said Hailey.
“Yeah, Gerbo’s, I think. Hailey, I have threeeee fishes.”
“Oh, don’t start that again, Allison!”
Allison said, “Their names are Goldie, Golda, and…I can’t think of another ‘gold something’ name.”
“Who was that other actress who played in that witch movie with Goldie?” Hailey said.
“Brett somebody,” said Allison.
I thought I’d be hip and show the girls I knew who “Goldie” was and tell them something interesting about her. “I remember Goldie Hawn got her start on a show in the 60’s called Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In“, I said. “She’d say funny things like, ‘You bet your bippy’ and ‘Now that tickled my fancy!’”
Ignoring me, Hailey said to Allison, “No, it wasn’t Bette Midler.”
I continued, “I think the movie was called Death Becomes Her. Goldie’s been in a lot of movies.”
“No, Dad, that’s not the one. I’ve never even seen that movie.”
Allison giggled. “I have threeeee fishes.”
“Allison, STOP THAT!” Hailey yelled.
Practically talking to myself now, lost in fond blonde memories, I said, “Goldie was only 23 at the time. She’s still a babe now at 55, though.”
“OH GOD! DAD!”
Throwing me a bone, Allison said, “I’ve never even heard of Laughing In”.
I felt smug as we pulled up to Allison’s house and she got out of the car.
Hailey said, “Call me in a few minutes when I get home.”
I said, “Why? I’ll be at home with you.”
When I was 11 years old, watching Arte Johnson, Henry Gibson, Lily Tomlin and Goldie, I came to appreciate comic dialog. Now I hear a lot of funny teenager conversations as I drive the girls around town. Sometimes I try to participate, but often my mind just wanders off to Goldie. Now that tickles my fancy.