April 18, 2010


In casual conversations with my two-year-old nephew Zach, he's fairly
liberal with his usage of the English language.

At this point, he's got a rudimentary understanding of verbal
communication and giggles his way through discussions about food,
baseball, motorcycles, and constantly reminding me about the F bomb I
accidentally muttered. Again.

There are words he likes to share with the rest of the world that he
knows aren't appropriate to utter. So instead of singing it out loud
and letting everyone know about it, he quietly saddles up next to your
ear to share these words with you.

There's something about a curly-haired little blond kid whispering
curse words to you with a sly Cheshire grin that makes it really
difficult to chastise him.

But there's another word that he utters. A word I don't understand,
yet I've become acutely fascinated with it. Perplexed and infatuated
with a term I can't possibly comprehend and with the thousands of
words I've pounded into my keyboard, this one utterance still haunts


Six innocent little letters spoken from the mouth of grinning little
towhead. With his eyes quietly laughing at me, as if I should know
what he means. He taunts me with vocabulary I can't possibly decipher.

I've even tried every permutation to figure out what he's trying to
say. I've Googled it. I'm beginning to think it's not even English and
might be some type of global infant conspiracy.

It usually starts with me simply saying the word to him. I'm a glutton
for punishment and I can't help myself. A typical conversation is as

"Hey Zach…Imoway."

This simple sentence usually resets his demeanor, and he'll sit down
next to me and look me straight in the eye and tell me:

"No Cowey…Imoway",

He says this with a stern face as if warning me of my foolish adult
transgression. If I repeated the word imoway, he'd become more
insistent and sit on my lap to remind me, that he himself was…imoway.

I thought this was just a fun game for him and me to play until recently…

I was having lunch a few weeks ago and a young lad had freed himself
from his parents and was walking around greeting people waiting in
line. Jokingly, I shook his chubby little hand and instead of hello, I
said "imoway".

As he walked past me, he stopped dead in his tracks, turned and looked
me straight in the eye. He knew what I was saying. Realizing I knew,
he promptly walked in the direction of his parents.

Just to test my theory, I had my wife say the same thing to a
kid at Island's last week. He glared at us and sat down while the
whole time sneaking sideways glances at us. He whispered something to
his younger sister, and I swear they spoke into their wrist like
secret service agents.

As I write this, I feel like every child I see looks at me like I'm on
to them. I know conspiracies are for the mentally unstable but they're
after me. Seriously. The Imoway Society knows my every move.

Try it for yourself. The next time you're around a little rug monster,
mention the word imoway. Watch their reaction. Then kiss your ass
goodbye. They're on to us. You've been warned…


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