Ever noticed how families often have their own language? For instance, my husband always had our kids say “Bullfrog” instead of “Please.” He would say, “What’s the magic word,” and they would respond, ” Bullfrog.” I’m sure there is a story behind it, but I have long since forgotten it, and it must not have been too interesting or I would have remembered.
There is a particular word that I do remember the origin of and before I am too old or senile to remember, I will relay it here. When Jeff (the first-born) was in Kindergarten. I saw him run out of the door at the end of the day a little more enthusiastic than normal. He was always (and still is) very happy and upbeat, but as he jumped into the car, he was bubbling over with something to say. He was trying to get it out, but he was so breathless I was having trouble understanding him. Trying to slow him down, I said to him, “My goodness; it must have been quite a day today!” He agreed and told me, “There was a Herbert at school today. We had a real live Herbert at school!” “A Herbert,” I asked. “What’s a Herbert?” “You know, Mom, a grown-up – a Herbert. One of those big people who are mean.” I just kept prodding with questions trying to get the necessary clues to interpret the new word. This is what I got:
1. It is an adult.
2. It is a mean person.
3. He/She has been on the news.
4. Kids should never be around Herberts.
5. Herberts are scary and yucky.
6. They are just very bad people and should all be in jail.
7. They do bad things to kids.
Bingo. I got it. After much effort, I had it figured out – a pervert. The remainder of the story was almost of no consequence, but it appeared a stranger had been seen on the playground, the police had been called, and nothing much had come of it, but to this day we will comment on someone, “He’s a Herbert.”
And then this was born many years later from Family Guy.