Literally and figuratively.
I made sure to do my research on the origins of “wet behind the ears” as to not offend anyone or group of people. As a southern-grown kid I think I probably throw around a lot of phrases and old addages that if their origins were to be traced I would likely be calling someone’s mama fat or their kids unintelligent. And we don’t want that, so I turned to my dear friend, Google, and this is what he had to say (sidenote: I made sure to put the phrase into parantheses for fear of what obscene things would potentially surface if not…just a google tip, free of charge.):
Origin: The allusion is to the inexperience of a baby, so recently born as to still be wet.
The phrase was in circulation in the USA as early as the twentieth century – twenty years before it was first recorded elsewhere. The converse of the phrase – “dry back of the ears” – was also known in the USA from around the same date. [Taken from www.phrases.org]
So there you have it. Now you know when I am refering to my father-in-law as “wet behind the ears” I am not insulting his intelligence or questioning his mother’s gerth, just calling him naive. And that’s acceptable, right?
In this case it will have to be. Because the phrase is punny. You will see.
Bruce-ski (Ha, that’s funny, too…just wait.) came to stay with us the last week of camp to help Chris in closing down for the summer. Chris put him to work with installing the remainder of the disc golf holes which is more involved than one would think. Digging holes, trimming trees, filling said holes with cement, hauling the cement to where it needs to go, building baskets, cleaning up… all in 100+ heat index. Yuck. He is from Florida, but so am I, and I hate to be hot and sweaty. I don’t hate getting hot and sweaty, just being.
After a long day slaving away, it’s only right to relax with water of some sort – in this situation, boating sports to be precise. If you’ve been reading all along since we started this blog last year (thanks, moms) you know that Chris was a novice at skiing last summer and now he can’t be stopped. I, if I do say so myself, have caught up to his ability after having to sit out last year being with child and all (I still don’t see why skiing isn’t an OB-approved activity). We’ve gone from two skis, to one (Chris only), to surfing the wake behind the boat… pretty fancy for a couple of Florida kids who have either rarely or never been pulled behind a boat.
Well, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree (there I go with my sayings again), right?
Bruce-ski (now you see the humor?) could not recall a time in his –ahem- more than half a century ever having skied. How is this possible? Two Florida boys and neither one can remember a point in their youth having participated in boating sports? Unacceptable. This must be changed. Pronto.
And so we did. Change it, that is, though slightly beyond his yesteryears of youth, and potentially a minor heart palpatation for his other half – if she knew before it happened. We didn’t let her in on it until we were all back on dry land, safe and sound, everyone in tact – minus a little pride for some of us.
I won’t say that he dazzled us with the natural (and sickening) athletic ability that his son possesses, but by golly, he had a blast trying. And I think he would do it again, maybe even in a bathing suit – he jumped in with his pleated Casual Friday khaki shorts on. It took him a few tries to stand up, and granted he is trying surfing before skiing so we will have a slight bit of mercy, but the Cheshire Cat grin from ear to ear when he held on and rode for a mighty ten seconds said it all. Determination and persistence this man o’ the cloth doth he not lack.
He looked pretty good doing it, too, if only for brief moments.
And figuratively, he is no longer “wet behind the ears”. Literally – well, you will have to judge for yourself:
Oh the joys of living in the sticks – where the cows come home on the range, the rooster crows at dawn, and Comcast doesn’t reach.