Standing at the crosswalk yesterday, as we were walking home, Caleb regaled me with stories about the elaborate games of catch he’d been playing in the playground. He and another boy had been bouncing a ball off a wall and then doing tricks (most of which involved flopping to the ground) before they caught the ball.

Caleb grabbed his crotch, ala Michael Jackson: “I bounced the ball off my nuts!”

Me: Nuts? You mean your penis?”

Caleb: Nuts.  That’s the word. But I don’t really know why it’s called that. Why is it?

Me: Well…I don’t really know. But that’s part of why that word isn’t really the right word to use.

Caleb: It kind of looks like nuts down there. (Gives himself an emphatic shake, lest I not understand which part of his anatomy he’s referring to).  Little nuts. Like peanuts.

Me: Maybe that’s why, then. But still, let’s say penis instead of nuts?

Caleb: When I’m a grown-up, I’ll have HUGE nuts.

He smiles happily at the prospect and we cross the street.

I’m thinking again about those etiquette lessons. Does Ru-Paul talk about “nuts”?  I think not.