I still find it almost impossible to believe that I didn’t see the penis entering the conversation I had with the boys less than an hour ago…

I was with Lewis and Archie and had just suffered through what I calculate to be my 1200th school reader in four years, saying things like, no, remember that p and h together make an f sound, and try that word again but make the g silent, and no I wasn’t sleeping I just was so enthralled by I’m Glad I’m Not An Alligator that my head fell backwards and my mouth gaped open, when finally Lewis picked up a Library book that was at least a tad interesting: Australian Geographic’s Space.

Thinking back now and checking my memory as I scanned over the index it is impossible to believe that I didn’t have an inner smile at what was always going to happen. It’s inconceivable!

There were two young boys next to me – eight and six – whose great sense of humour is only rivalled by my own and revolves (mostly) around what little they know about willys, bums and the various excrements and noises produced by the human body.

After reading through the Did You Know? section and discussing such interesting topics as how is the Earth able to sustain life? and what are shooting stars? and who was it that farted? (before finally deciding to just agree that nobody did and to say no more about it) we moved on to reading through the short summaries on each planet in our solar system.

I still failed* to see the penis entering the conversation when we opened to page 8 and were reading all about the Sun while Venus – Earth’s really hot neighbour – was sitting all pretty and obvious on page 9.

And now I have to admit to feeling a little worried. I’m approaching forty, man! Am I going through the hormonal shift? Is a drop in testosterone influencing my mind towards a more serious and bland appreciation of the world?

The big black block letters ENUS didn’t create the immediate visual association they have in the past. There was no full-faced smile as I thought back on the slightly modified school bus recitals of the classic 80s Bananarama hit. I didn’t find the need to mentally censor myself before pointing out an obvious rhyme that would be a tad inappropriate when presenting myself as a role model to young children. I did not detect even the slightest hint of penis.

I’m hoping this was just a one off that I can blame on tiredness or a humour brain-fade. I mean, there’s maturity – which is important – and then there’s the kind of maturity that makes you all Pope-ish and boring and grey; the kind I’ve been trying to avoid my whole life.

‘Okay, now… Venus,’ I said, without thinking of penis.

I got four sentences into the description, making the enus sound three times, before Lewis interrupted me.


‘Yes,’ I said, unknowingly opening the door and ushering the penis in.

‘If you change the V to a P do you know what it says?’

I’m ashamed to say that I actually had to look at the word Venus to work it out.

‘Penis,’ I said, catching myself by surprise.

‘Hahahahaha,’ said Lewis and Archie… and me.


*Apologies for sounding a little like the ‘He was still hungry’ refrain of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I’ve read that book many, many times.


Do you share you kids’ sense of humour? Share your stories with me and help avoid a Pope-ish life!