The Playroom: Ewwww

Author: Maraya Steadman '89, '90MBA

Maraya Steadman

Today I used a pressure wand at the car wash to clean dog barf out of the inside of my minivan. Now, I can appreciate the humor resulting from a bad decision. Okay, a very bad decision, but the car interior is now forever covered in spray-sized barf particles, and I’m not laughing.

While standing outside the car in the cold and the rain with a pressure wand in my hand rethinking my bad decision, my son asks, “Hey Mom, what is more disgusting barf or snot?” William decides “No, no you know what is disgustinger, barf mixed with snot!”

And then he falls out of his car seat in peals of laughter. Now, I’ve spent a lot of time with both, and I don’t think that barf or snot, whether mixed together or not, are funny.

Why is disgusting funny?

I’ve asked my husband this question and he answered “Because we’re men, and men are simple.”

Okay, so why is disgusting funny? I asked my brother, who wasn’t really able to clarify much further when he answered, “Because we’re men.”

Ah, I see, and that is why a young man of 5 likes to stick his bare bottom in his sister’s face? Me, telling him, “William get your bare butt out of your little sister’s face, it’s disgusting.”

My son, responding to me with a nasal intonation because his head is between his legs, “Yeah, I know Mom, that’s why I’m doing it.”

“Well, sit down!”

To his credit, although not his good taste, the boy did sit down by falling into the bath water, laughing so hard he was sputtering.

One day this past summer, while lying face down in the sand at the lake shore, my son was letting his spit drool down and then just before it hit the sand he sucked the same spit strand back in again, then let it drool down and then sucked it back in, over and over again.

“William, that’s disgusting.” And, once again, he rolled over in peals of laughter. Perhaps grossing out your mom is worth a good belly laugh. Okay, I get that part. But when I ask my son why disgusting is funny he responds “I don’t know, it just is.”

So now I’ve asked the three closest male members of my family why disgusting is funny and I have gotten the following closure: men are simple; it just is.

Well, I will admit that when I was standing in the cold and the rain with a pressure wand in my hand after spraying dog barf all over myself, the dog, my kid and the inside of the minivan, when William asked “what is more disgusting barf or snot?” I answered him.


I’m still not laughing.

Maraya Steadman, who lives in a Chicago suburb, is a stay-at-home mother of three children. She can be reached at