My Children Grow Sick of Sick!!! (sic) Discussion

Posted on June 24, 2011


This afternoon my wife and I sat on the front steps, watching my two sons and their friend perform skateboard tricks, and the kids asked me to judge who could jump highest on the skateboard.  When I proclaimed a winner, the other kids gave him high fives, and I felt jealous of all the attention he was getting.  I knew I couldn’t manage a jump on the skateboard, so I challenged them to a contest to see who could jump highest over the skateboard while it was lying on the ground.  I’m sure you can guess who won because I wouldn’t be writing about it if I had lost.

The kids didn’t seem impressed by my jump over the skateboard, so I sent them to their rooms.  Their friend insisted he couldn’t go to his room because his mother wasn’t picking him up until later, so I sent him to our broom closet.  The kids tried to avoid punishment by insisting they had been impressed, but I knew if this were true, they would have described my feat by using their favorite word “sick”.  I hear them use the word all the time, as in “That jump was sick!!!” or “That kickflip was sick!!!” or “That lesson on fractions was sick!!!  We’re lucky to have such a sick teacher!!!”

Feeling slighted that my jump didn’t qualify as sick, I asked the kids for some parameters.

Sick kickflip using sick skateboard.

“If I see a skateboard trick, and it’s really sick, should it make me feel physically sick?  Is that how you measure the sickness of a trick, by whether it makes you feel nauseous?”
“Because I do have a mild headache, and my arms feel a little itchy, although that might be the high humidity.  I should take an antihistamine.”
“Are we talking flu symptoms?  Common cold?  Allergies?  Do any of those mean my jumping over the skateboard was sick?”
“If your friend has a new skateboard, and it’s really awesome, would you describe it as sick?”
“What if you left the skateboard out in the rain and the wheels got rusty?  Would you then describe it as sick, but in a bad way?”
“So I could say, ‘That skateboard used to be way sick until it got sick.'”
“What if I made you a really great glass of lemonade?  Would you describe it as a sick glass of lemonade?”
“I’d probably describe it as sweet.”
“What if the lemonade was incredibly sour, but still good?  You wouldn’t call it sweet, right?  Would you call it sick?”
“I guess.”
“Would you like a sick glass of lemonade now?”
“No!  Not until you describe my jump over the skateboard as sick.”

My librarian wife’s questions were purely academic, “Are you saying sick with a ‘k’ or sic without a ‘k’?  Because I always thought you were saying it without a ‘k’.”  My sons confirmed it was sick with a ‘k’.  “Is there a place for sic in your slang, just like in grammar when you quote somebody who was speaking incorrectly but you want the reader to know the mistake was theirs and not yours?  Can you imitate somebody’s skateboard trick when they crashed and call it a sic imitation?”

The kids didn’t answer because they had all gone inside.

I wonder if they were feeling sick.

Posted in: Family