Conversations With My Teenage Daughter: Fish Tacos

3 years ago

Over the weekend, I took the kids to one of our favorite spots: The Movie Tavern. If you have one of these anywhere near you, go! Not much more expensive than dinner out and then a movie, but you get to enjoy your food while you view. The kids love the novelty of it, and the food is always good.

We had already ordered our food and were enjoying our drinks, watching previews and waiting for it to arrive. Most of the servers in that place are young and very perky, and my thirteen year old daughter had her eyes on a server named Ryan who looked like he was in his teens and was completely and utterly totes adorbs. OMG.

(Those are my words, by the way, not hers. She wouldn't be caught dead calling anyone "totes adorbs," but I digress...)

So we're sitting there waiting, and out of nowhere, this server guy comes up, bearing a basket full of food and stops dead in front of the group next to us. He caught our eye first because he was pretty tall, and second, because he looked old enough to be all the other servers' grandpa. Which is great, don't get me wrong. He probably loves the movie discount and hey, he's still active. I find that awesome.

He stopped right in front of the group, shoved the basket toward them and growled:

"Fish Tacos."

And when I say "growled," that's not quite it. He had no smile. Maybe he was just having a  bad day. He looked incredibly put-upon. He looked  - and sounded - as though those fish tacos had sucked his soul from his body and ground it into tartar sauce with a zesty jicama slaw on the side. His shoulders were stooped, and he looked utterly defeated as his lifeless voice pushed the words from his lips:

"Fish tacos."

And it was completely, and utterly hilarious for some reason. I don't know why. Maybe because he was really loud when he said it, in that really horrible way. Maybe because no one in that group ordered fish tacos, and when they told him so, he turned on his heel and walked right off, as though there was no reason to go on. The fish tacos had taken yet one more thing from him.

Anna and I could barely contain ourselves, clapping our hands over our mouths to keep from laughing out loud. We proceeded to discuss it under our breath until the movie started, snorting inelegantly between bouts of convulsive, held-in laughter.

"Mom! Oh my God, that was funny," she gasped.

"It was like he had nothing left to live for. Curse you, fish tacos!"

"I was a good man, until someone ordered the fish tacos..." she replied in a grave voice.

"I'm going to get that on a tee shirt," I said fervently. "Fish Tacos. No explanation."

She looked at me in alarm. "Uh....Mom? No. Just No."

I thought about it for a minute. "Yeah, that's really....wrong."


"Very. Just wrong."

Okay, no tee shirt, but now the phrase "Fish Tacos" has become part of our lexicon, used quite frequently that day ('What in the fish tacos is going on here?'), but a bit more sporadically now. I have no doubt we'll forget all about it eventually and then one of us will trudge it out and we'll both be howling with laughter all over again.

So, thank you, fish taco guy, for a shared moment of laughter with my girl. Someday, twenty years in the future at some holiday dinner, she'll pass me a platter, her shoulders will stoop and she'll say in her best, world-weary voice: 'fish tacos' and I'll spew wine all over that special tablecloth I only put on the table at holidays, and we'll both try to explain, just as I am right now, why that's so incredibly funny.

I guess you had to be there, and I'm just glad we were.






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