There was great concern from Cordell Watson’s parents when their son hadn’t spoken any real words by fifteen months of age.
“Don’t worry,” his pediatrician assured them. “Children develop at their own pace.”
Sure enough, three months later he was talking up a real storm, to the point where his parents missed the quiet days. He had become a chatter alright, something his teachers would make note of in the years to come. That said, he wasn’t exactly what you’d call a linguist. As easy as it was for him to go on and on about the social issues of the day, his favorite teams, and his various pet peeves, there was no way he could do so in a foreign language. He did not sound romantic the way a French person does when they say, “J t’adore”; nor did he sound sexy the way an Italian does when they say, “Tesoro mio.” Cordell sounded – well, like a guy who only knew how to speak English with an American accent.
It came as quite a surprise to him then when he picked up an entirely new language at the age of thirty. Perhaps it was because he was forced to speak it at all hours of the day. Or maybe his basic survival instincts told him on a subconscious level that his life hinged on him becoming fluent. Or maybe he had it in him all along, and it just took the new terrain in which he found himself to bring it out of him. Whatever it was, he caught on and he caught on fast.
He and his wife, Belinda were only married ten months when they found out they were expecting. As her belly grew and grew, and her hormones went from one direction to the other, he learned that the proper response to “I feel as big as a house,” isn’t “Yeah, you are pretty massive.” It’s “What are you talking about sweetie? I think you look gorgeous!” He also learned that when your wife wakes you up in the middle of the night saying she has a craving for Chinese food, you do not say “I don’t think any place is open at this hour.” You say, “I’m sure I can find a recipe for Moo Moo Guy Pan on the internet” and then you get cooking. And when she shouted “You did this to me you bastard!” loud enough for not only everyone in the delivery room but the entire hospital to hear, he learned within seconds that telling her to keep her voice down would only net him a vice-like grip on his testicles.
Navigating your way through marriage; especially when your wife is pregnant, requires a special language of its own. Cordell is thoroughly fluent now, and he fully intends to make sure his newborn son is by the time he grows up and selects a bride of his own.