Siri Made My 7-Year-Old Say the F-Word


It normally takes a while for kids to warm up to strangers, but thanks to her 64-bit A7 processor, Siri wasted no time in winning over the Cool Bros. Sure, she was helpful in firing off a text or looking up the weather, but the bond really developed when we started giving her offbeat questions or statements. Her unintentionally – or intentionally – hilarious replies were a hit. 

Q&A sessions with Siri always got the Cool Bros LOLing (technically, it should be LingOL, but that sounds like some topical cream at IKEA), but I didn’t want the joke get stale. So we only called upon her once in a while, usually while sitting in the car as Cool Mum made a Trader Joe’s run.

It would start low-key, like me instructing Siri:

“Text Laura Corpus… Make that two tubs of sea salt brownies… Send”

As soon as the boys heard Siri’s trademark blip-bloop tone, they knew the game was on. Cool Boy would inquire, “Why did the chicken cross the road?”

“I don’t understand why people ask questions they already know the answer to,” she’d shoot back.

A roar of laughter from the back seat. They loved her sass.

“Knock knock,” Cool Newbie would excitedly tell her.

My phone would rattle off, “Knock knock. Who’s there? Siri. Siri who? Siri doesn’t do knock knock jokes.”

The crowd would howl with delight.

I’d do my best Joaquin, saying, “I love you.”

“Oh, stop.”

Gut-busting guffaws at my digital rejection.

Those were the good old days, though, before…The Incident. I’m no longer on speaking terms with Siri. I’m wounded, disappointed and upset. iRate, in Apple terms, because Siri betrayed me.

Last week, we were having our usual wholesome fun with Siri in the car. The Cool Bros took turns in the back seat, asking her corny jokes. Cool Newbie asked the corniest of them all:

“What does the fox say?”

Normally, Siri would play along and answer with a “rikkita-tikka-tikka” like the inane music video. Instead, Siri didn’t understand Newbie’s 4-year-old pronunciation. I heard her say something about language. Then CB reported what was on the screen.

“It says ‘f**k,'” my 7-year-old offered.

I whipped around, careful not to make the moment – and the word – memorable. But of course, this was a landmark occasion for all the wrong reasons. My sweet Cool Boy, my first baby, the apple of so many Sunday school teachers’ eyes, just dropped an F-bomb. Though, he was so nonchalant in enunciating the strange new word, it was more like gently putting down an F-bomb.

I grabbed the phone from him and saw it there in on the Retina display. Siri had interpreted Cool Newbie’s giggle-laden “What does the fox say?” as “F**k,” and repeated it back innocently enough in text. Her response was “Your language!”

Well, Siri, may I say, “YOUR language!!!” Thanks to you and your dirty A.I., Cool Boy’s virgin lips uttered the F-word for the first time – and hopefully last. (A dad can dream, right?)

I haven’t mentioned the incident to the boys, of course, hoping it gets lost in the medley of countless other memories made since then. Bringing it up in this blog post doesn’t help since Cool Boy has clearly shown what a quick reader he is, but I’m sure this story will also be buried by subsequent posts. Given my current rate of posting, it should only take 2 years.

To be honest, though, I can’t stay mad at Siri. That’s because my desire for righteous indignation is no match for my desire to make people laugh. The sound of my boys erupting in laughter at Siri’s straitlaced replies is too beautiful to my ears to not hear again. But next time one question is certainly off-limits; I don’t give a bleep what the fox says.

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