In our house there were two things you did not do if, and when, you were spoken to by an adult. The first was to shrug your shoulders, and the second was to roll your eyes; particularly if you were within arms reach and silly enough to persist after sufficient warning. Every effort should be made to speak when spoken to with a thoughtful and pertinent answer. It wasn't hard once I got the hang of it and the world's worst was to be banished from conversation.
My Aunt Shirley, pictured here with my Uncle and Grandfather, just did not get it. She lived with my parents as she was growing up until she married, before I came along. Their relationship was one of parent and child. One afternoon I remember sitting at the table with my mom and Aunt, at that time with young children of her own. During the conversation she responded to a question from my mother with a shrug.
My mom, giving her a second opportunity, rephrased the question at which time she rolled her eyes.
My mother, showing great restraint, responded quite nicely with "Speak ass; mouth can't!" My mouth must have hit the table. I don't remember my parents using "foul language" as it was called. Not only that, I wasn't really sure what it meant. My Aunt Shirley knew. It turned out to be a phrase coined by my Grandfather under similar circumstances. She made a nice rebound and my mom continued the conversation without skipping a beat, as if it has never happened.
I always wondered if my Aunt knew she was riding the ragged edge of disaster in those few seconds before my mom took that deep breath and said...