I never thought we’d be an “Alexa!” kind of family.
In fact, after hearing our previous neighbours’ children repeatedly squawk her name from the garden, I had sworn that Alexa would never set her submissive digital foot inside our home.
Still. As is often the case with early parental swears, here we are. A previous guest-room inhabitant had gifted us with a spare Echo Dot and, having successfully hidden it for the last 6 months, the Middle Man finally dug it out and all but installed it himself. Husband put him out of his misery…
Ten minutes later, “Alexa do a wet fart!” became the highlight of his summer holidays. (Made slightly more wholesome by his prolonged pronunciation of the word “faaarht” – almost like he’s flagging down some kind of German bus, in a thick Mancunian accent. Saaaaound).
I mean, don’t get me wrong, there are definite perks to this.
Firstly, Alexa does, in fact, “farht” on demand. You don’t have to be six-and-three-quarters to find that flipping hilarious. (I just wish I’d remembered to turn her off before we sat down for dinner…)
Secondly, Alexa does not appear to mind being asked a million unrelated questions in quick succession; nor does she lose her temper when her answers to said questions are just as swiftly interrupted and ignored. The Middle Man’s poor Grandparents endured four days of such torment and apparently took another four weeks to recover. I don’t think he’ll be invited back any time soon!
Thirdly; she does seem to know her schnitzel. That’s handy to have around.
On the downside, however, our neighbours are now listening to our kids screech her name from the garden; requesting boppy pop songs only to be immediately overridden by a competing sibling request. It’s like Guess the Tune with a shade of Hunger Games thrown in; a lot more fighting and a lot less Jaegermeister. This definitely calls for the off switch.
Speaking of Guess the Tune, however, the kids’ constant requests for “Football’s Coming Home” apparently whet Husband’s foggy, nostalgic appetite last night, resulting in this most glorious script…
Hub: Alexa, play “I drink a whiskey drink, I drink a lager drink.”
Alexa: Here’s something I found on the Internet about popular alcoholic beverages-
Hub: No, Alexa, play Chumbawumba! Whiskey drink-
Me (from upstairs): It’s not called that!
Hub: What’s it called then?
Me: Oh what’s the chorus… “I get knocked down, but I get up again-“
Hub: Alexa, “You ain’t never gonna keep me down!”
Alexa: Thank you for the feedback.
Hub: No. Alexa, play “I get knocked down, but I get up again…”
Alexa: Now playing, Tubthumping by Chumbawumba.
Me: Oh that’s it! Of course!
* Song plays for approximately fifteen seconds *
Middle Man: Alexa, stop! Do a faaahrt noise!
Alexa: I have a purse full of fart sounds. Would you like me to open it?
Middle Man: YES PLEASE!
Alexa: OK. Just say, “Alexa, let rip” when you’re ready.
Hub: NO! No more farting. Alexa, play Chumbawumba, “I…. err-“
Me (still upstairs): it’s Tubthumping! She told you already!
Me: Tub – Thumping!
Hub: Stub Lumping?
Me: TUB THUMPING!
Hub: Chub Munching?
Me: TUB THUMPING!
Hub: Bum Humping?!!!!
Me: Did you say Bum Humping???!!!
Hub: Ok… Alexa, play Bum Humping…
Middle Man: BUM HUMPING?!!! Everyone, Dad just asked for BUM HUMPING!!!!!
Alexa: Sorry, I don’t know that one. Here’s Tubthumping by Chumbawumba.
You gotta hand that one to her, hey?
We’ll be singing, when we’re winning…