The B Word
When I was young and spunky, my parents had a friend named Fred. He was the most interesting person I knew at the time. A very wealthy man, Fred had a pool, a mansion, and a significantly younger live-in girlfriend. (I didn’t even know it was possible to live with someone with whom one was not married. As I said, I was young!) He also owned a computer, which was the most interesting part of all, as most people did not have personal computers in their homes at the time.
Occasionally, Fred would invite my parents over to dinner, and, while the adults socialized, they would shoo us children into the computer room to play games. Fred had a cutting-edge game installed on his computer called Frogger, in which the player had to navigate an 8-bit pixellated blob that vaguely resembled a frog across a busy multi-lane highway. I loved video games (and can’t pretend that I don’t, to this day), so I eased my way into the top score slot. I was so impressed with myself that I decided my own, ordinary name would not suffice, and so I typed in: Seymour Butt.
At dinner that evening, Fred told us a story about some badly-behaved children he’d had the displeasure of meeting. They were so rotten that he’d never invited their parents over ever again. Good thing we weren’t rotten little bastards like those other kids were. I was immediately seized with guilt! Here was Fred, praising my good behavior, when, unbeknownst to him, I had written a false name that contained the word butt on his newfangled computing machine!
I lay awake half the night, wondering if Fred would discover my misdeed and banish the Fernandez family from his gigantic labyrinth of a house in all its 1980s glory. Much to my relief, he invited us over a few weeks later, and I made a beeline for the computer, where I frantically played Frogger until I was able to bump Seymour Butt off the high score list. Crisis averted.