This past weekend we left the city to hang out at Stephen’s British coworker’s house. He has a 2 ½-year-old son who, for whatever reason, took a liking to me (that’s putting it lightly, the kid was literally attached to me the entire time he was awake). Max liked to talk to me, but because of his age and accent, I only understood about 10 percent of what he said. He was particularly fond of saying two things: “naughty” (“Daddy is naughty!”) and “cheeky monkey” (“You’re a cheeky monkey!”)
“What’s a ‘cheeky monkey?’” I asked his dad. He was thoroughly surprised I had never heard the phrase before. He had a hard time explaining it since the phrase has become such a part of the vernacular. I tried to think of something comparable in American slang and came up with “silly goose,” but maybe they say that here too.
As I’ve always had a soft spot for expletives that involve the word “monkey” (e.g. monkey butt, butt monkey and the one I like to think I coined, monkey pants), I need to find a way to work “cheeky monkey” into my vocabulary. Unless, of course, “cheeky” is one of those words that simply cannot be said with an American accent, like “bloody.”
On a final note, I was at the grocery store a couple weeks ago, waiting in an unusually long line at the self-service checkout. I wasn’t paying close attention, but apparently a machine opened up and two high school-age boys jumped the line and went for it. A middle-age woman started yelling at them, but they quickly rung up their items and left. When she returned to the line she muttered “Cheeky bastards!” I couldn’t help but chuckle.