When I was a little kid, I enjoyed watching movies with my dad. I still do, but it was especially fun to be a little kid and watching a somewhat grown-up movie with one of your parents. Anyway, one of the characters referred to the lead guy as a “private dick,” meaning a detective or private investigator. Well, I thought that was just the coolest thing ever, and proceeded to call everyone I met a “dick,” thinking in my little girl way, I was calling everyone a detective. I was maybe, 7 or 8 years old at the time, so I had absolutely NO idea what the word actually means in its more conventional usage. Finally, one of my teachers took me into the principal’s office and asked where I heard that word, and told them the name of the movie I’d watched with my dad. The teacher looked at me and said that people don’t use that word to mean “detective” anymore, and that I should stop saying it. I was confused but did as I was told, because I was raised to respect my elders, and my teachers counted in that group.
It wasn’t until many years later that I discovered the other meaning the word had, and I promptly thought back to those halcyon days and started laughing so hard my stomach hurt. I couldn’t believe no one pulled me aside sooner and said, “I don’t think you should be saying that.”