How Tongan war spears reminded me to laugh about getting older

December 6, 2023

The entrance to our little community in western New York is hard to see in the dark. That’s because our second home is in a somewhat rural area without street lights. So coming home in the dark last week, we almost missed it.

“I don’t understand why the builder didn’t light the entrance better,” I groused to M. “I’m tempted to buy some Tongan war spears and plant them on either side of the driveway!”

Tongan war spears? What the he….???

“You mean tiki torches,” M said. And we immediately burst out laughing. In fact, we laughed so long and hard we were both in tears.

Because, of course, I couldn’t think of the term tiki torches. So what came out of my mouth was Tongan war spears.

Now, I’ve never seen a Tongan war spear. I have no idea why my brain even knew the term. But being a writer, I’ll credit it to writerly creativity.

It took us days to stop laughing about that slip of the tongue. And when I’ve told it to a few friends my age I thought would appreciate it, they laughed, too. And hard.

Because these things happen to those of us who are a certain age. And we might as well laugh about it.

UPDATE: My friend, Woody, did a little research and discovered that yes, there actually ARE Tonga torches (not spears) and they look just like tiki torches. I have no idea how I knew that! Certainly not consciously!

How about you? Do you have a similar story you can share with us in the comments?


3 comments on “How Tongan war spears reminded me to laugh about getting older
  1. Laurie Stone says:

    It’s always strange when we know things, but don’t know how or why. That happens a lot on Jeopardy.

  2. Diane says:

    Now I want some Tongan War Spears to mark my entry!

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