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Kids Say The Damnedest Things: My mother has a collection of old George Booth cartoons from the New Yorker. I used to read it in the later stages of learning to read. There's one cartoon which is something like the following: a little boy is holding a bowl of oatmeal rather despondently, as his father says something slice-of-lifey like "Oatmeal is oatmeal, son, and there's not a damned thing you can do about it." I'm making it sound more Charles Addams than it is, but it's something like that.

Like any language-learning neural network, I was able to incorporate the unfamiliar aspects of that sentence into my vocabulary without having to know the formal rules of what everything meant and how everything fit together. So a while later, maybe a couple months, I announced to my mother, "There's not a demand thing to eat in this house!"

She thought I learned it from my grandfather. For all I know she still thinks this. Hopefully this entry will clear my grandfather's good name.

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