Thursday, December 3, 2015

TBT to 1989: Twelve Inches of Mr. Cocky.

My mom had five children. She was always the first to admit, though, that before she had kids of her own, she hadn't even held a baby. Sure, she had earned her teaching degree - but it was for high school English. Small children were foreign creatures to her.

Clearly, though, the woman was a natural. Five children in nine years is a tall order for anyone, but Mom threw herself into parenting a hundred percent, and she was fantastic at it. Take, for example, her graceful handling of a dicey situation: my fourth-grade sock puppet project in 1989.

I spent weeks crafting my sock puppet. To my recollection, we weren't given very specific instructions; we just had to decorate socks and write the puppet's backstory, including name, age, and favorite things. (Maybe it was a language arts project? Character development?) So on one of my dad's old tube socks, I drew a face, some hair, and (inexplicably) a collar and a medal. Then I stuffed a stiff paper towel tube inside and wrote my puppet's story, giving him a sassy name to reflect the conceited attitude I'd established for him: Mr. Cocky the Sock.

Now, I KNEW what "cocky" meant, and I had composed my story to reflect Mr. Cocky's namesake nature: He was an arrogant, egotistical dude. Plus, "cocky" rhymed with "socky," so who could resist?! It was literary gold, in my eight-year-old mind.

My masterful mother. The night before the puppets were due, I showed my work to her, and she read my short story. She stared at the paper and the puppet for a minute with a nondescript expression before saying, "Honey, we need to talk."

We went into her bedroom, where I never got to go, and she sat down on the bed and patted the spot next to her. I remember climbing up and sitting down, my feet high above the carpet, and feeling my heart sink as my mom said, "I...think you need to rename your puppet."

"What? I can't rename him!" I protested. "It's due tomorrow!"

She cleared her throat. "Honey, do you know what 'cocky' means?"

"Yes," I said indignantly. "It means rude and conceited."

"Well," she said, "that's true. But..." And she paused for a long, awkward moment. "But 'cock' is also another word for a man's penis."

My mouth dropped open. "But that's not what I mean! I mean 'cocky'! That's different!"

My mom put her arm around me. "You're right. And you did a really good job writing a story about a cocky puppet. I just don't think the other kids will, um...know the difference, and they might make fun of you."

I let that sink in, realizing she was right. And so I re-did my project, feeling less embarrassed about my near-faux pas than - well, cocky about it. Those stupid, dumb-ass fourth-grade peers of mine! Always diminishing my linguistic aptitude with their immaturity. (Ha! How the tables have turned.) I renamed my puppet Mr. Docky the Socky, drew him again, and replaced every "Cocky" with "Docky" in my handwritten story.

But he's still totally a penis.

Happily, he maintained his cocky expression, despite his name change.

Just another view of the collar around his...head. And his hairy tip.

The Mr. Cocky short story is long gone, but I had scrawled a few details right on his body: He's four months old, and his first word was "Gimme!" How my mom didn't crack up right in front my face is beyond me. I know she had a good laugh about it later, though, and she saved it for posterity. I found him a few years ago, all twelve inches of him, still stiff as could be. I definitely wish I could read the original tale of Mr. Cocky strutting in the streets, ribbed collar around his neck, shouting his first word: "Gimme! Gimme!"

Hoooooo boy.

Happy Throwback Thursday from me and Mr. Cocky!

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  1. Im really impressed that she said anything to you without laughing her ass off.

    1. Right?! She told the story best - I wish I could remember all the details!

  2. YOU STILL HAVE MR. COCKY?!? Hilarious. And I adore the sweetness of your mom. I don't know how she kept it together, but she obviously handled the whole situation with lots of love for you. And respect for Mr. Cocky.


    1. I only have it because my mom kept it all those years!! HILARIOUS!

  3. Oh my God! How did I miss this blog when you wrote it?? You just had me laughing and crying at the same time. This is flipping hilarious!! I can't believe she actually saved you from taking Mr. Cocky to school. Docky? I mean there are so many layers of humor here. How could he actually be a 12 inch sock puppet and you came up with Mr. Cocky???? WTF??? I'm literally dying over here. ......



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