The Bottom Shop
I delight in The Mouse’s sense of humour. She is fascinated by bottoms at the moment and one of her favourite games is”Five Things We Can’t Do Without a Bottom”. It involves me listing, simply, five things we couldn’t do without a bottom. Yesterday, she told me her bottom had fallen off, then ran quickly into her bedoom and came running back with an invisible bottom clenched in her fist.
“I went to The Bottom Shop! I got a new bottom!” She said with glee. And then she whacked her new bottom where the old one had been.
The simplicity of her bottom humour is beautiful.
The bottom game reminds me of a book we had as children: Badjelly the Witch, by Spike Milligan. My mother had bought it for us, determined to provide us with a more subversive literary diet than she’d been fed. Badjelly had a cat called Fluffybum. In our house, the word bum was Quite Rude and, therefore, side-splittingly funny. I don’t remember much of the story, but I do remember the liberation of being able to utter the word “bum” with license.
Where does our sense of humour come from? Is it just about what we’re exposed to? Or is there something less tangible, more mischievous inside us that starts that tickle in our tummy, that generates the chuckle or the fits of belly-shaking laughter? My father, at nearly 70 years old, thought the Simpsons were hilarious – but my mother couldn’t understand a word they said. I laugh every time I hear The Flight of the Conchords’ Businesstime, but cringe at most British humour. It’s a bit like coffee: when it’s bad, it’s very very bad. And when it’s good, it’s rockin’.
So I will continue to encourage The Mouse to find humour in her bottom. The subversive value of Fluffybum the cat has been reborn in The Bottom Shop.