So I was thinking I wanted to lighten the mood around here after my last post was so ranty. I’d also like to assure anybody reading this little blog that I don’t typically vent like that…but hey! Everybody has “those days” once in awhile.
When I was pondering what story I’d like to tell today, I kept coming back to this funny, odd game that my family used to play when we were growing up. Well, mainly it was between my dad and the three of us kids. Mom sort of looked on with a bemused smile and thought we were all crazy.
You see, my dad used to kick our asses when we were growing up. No, no, I don’t mean we were abused. He used to gently kick us in the butt with a “soccer tap.” When he did so, he would crow, “Nee-naah!” (Pronounced “knee” and “naaa” with a soft a.) Which, in Thai, loosely translates to something akin to “Right, there!”
Nee-naahs were high entertainment in our family as a child. The challenge was to get the intended target whilst unaware and kick them in the tush in such a manner that there would be a nice “Pop!” sound, most often quickly followed by squeals and giggles.
My dad was the Master Nee-naah’er. Sometimes, he would lie in wait around the corner of the hallway, or just inside an open doorway, and then you’d hear his triumphant proclamation, “Nee-naah!” echo through the house.
This was usually followed by one of us laughing and exclaiming, “Daa-aad!” You could always tell when he’d found his target, even if you were two floors up.
Of course, my sister, brother and I all had to practice on each other, too. We were constantly trying to trick someone into turning their backsides towards our eagerly awaiting foot.
“Look over there! What’s that behind you?” or “Oh, wow!” Just as my sister’s head swiveled to try and see what I was looking at, “Nee-naah!”
It got so prolific that mom finally had to step in and make the rule that nee-naahs were absolutely forbidden from the kitchen. I think one time my brother tried to sneak up on her while she was bent over an open oven and nearly knocked her in with the chicken.
Not the best move, but then again, at that age, we weren’t thinking about unintended consequences.
The three of us kids used to constantly be wary of being caught unaware. If we sensed that someone was coming up behind us, one of the natural responses was to “protect our assets.”
At the first sign of an impending nee-naah, we would quickly pivot around and put our butt up against the wall. That way, they wouldn’t be able to nee-naah us.
Obviously, that wouldn’t do. So in response, the nee-naah’er was honor bound to teasingly taunt, “Magnet butt! Magnet butt!” in a sing-song voice. This was often accompanied with the requisite finger pointing and victorious wiggling of the hips.
Whoever was getting mocked would try to play it off like they were unfazed and cool. “Who me? I don’t have anything to worry about…” and would slowly, nonchalantly, try to slink down the hallway then…wham!
Darn it, got me again!
I’m not really sure when we all stopped playing the game together. It must have had something to do with getting older and letting awkwardness and self-consciousness set in. I’m guessing I was probably around twelve or so. Since I was the oldest, what I did usually set the precedence for my siblings.
We no longer had time to play the game. Suddenly, we were too cool to play nee-nah and magnet butt anymore. We had friends over, and, besides, it was all so very mortifying. (“Geez, Dad!” as I rolled my eyes…)
Which, I suppose, is the natural progression of things at that age. Kids grow up.
However, it’s one of those family memories that I treasure now as an adult. It makes me smile at just how goofy and silly we were growing up and how many fun times we all had together.
I remember the first time I told Terry about our little game, he thought it sounded insane. But, every once in awhile, when he least expects it, I’ll kick him in the butt and loudly proclaim, “Nee-nah!”
It’s amazing how fast he’s grown a magnet butt.