If you work at a bakery, here’s a piece of advice: if someone tries to order an NSFW cake, it’s your job to stop them. (Unless it’s an erotic bakery.) But there are times when cake censorship goes too far, and if you’re not careful, you might create a viral sensation.
Jacob Koscinski hails from Charleston, South Carolina, and he recently pulled off an impressive academic feat: he graduated from his Christian homeschool program with a 4.79 GPA, which included A’s in several honors classes at local high schools. That sky-high GPA was good enough for him to graduate summa cum laude.
Like any proud mama, Jacob’s mother Cara wanted to celebrate. She planned a graduation party for her son, including a $70 sheet cake from their local Publix grocery store. But when Cara tried to order the cake online, there was a problem: the Publix website refused to accept the “cum” in “summa cum laude.”
You probably already know the distinction, but in case you don’t: in this context, the word “cum” isn’t dirty. The phrase “summa cum laude” is a Latin for “with highest honors.” So, “cum” is merely the Latin word for “with.”
But apparently, whoever programmed the Publix website didn’t know that. When Cara tried to request “summa cum laude” on the cake, the system replaced “cum” with three dashes, and warned her to knock off the profanity. Cara then tried to clarify her request in the “special instructions” section, resulting in maybe the weirdest cake order of all time:
Sure enough, when the day of the party arrived and Cara’s husband picked up the cake, it appeared with the three dashes. There was no cum to be found anywhere.
Talk about a sticky situation!
Cara called the store manager, who insisted he had no idea of the Latin meaning of the word. “He said, ‘You have to understand I get all these ignorant requests for cakes,'” Cara told Buzzfeed.
And to be fair to the store manager, that does happen. Over on our mother site, Awkward Family Photos, we’ve run tons of photos of cakes that would get at least a PG-13 rating. Like this one:
Or this one:
All you romantics out there certainly remember this one:
Bakeries obviously do get dirty requests. Maybe this Publix is so inundated with cake-based filth that the manager has an itchy trigger finger. Still, if you’re gonna make graduation cakes, you should probably know what “summa cum laude” means.
Publix did give Cara a refund, but as it was too late to fix the cake, the Koscinski’s had to serve it as-is. Unfortunately for Jacob, that meant having the a conversation nobody wants to have.
Jacob’s Grandma, who is in her 70’s and sounds like a very sweet person, had no idea what “cum” also means, so it fell to Jacob to explain it to her. “I tried to break down what the word meant and she was open-mouthed the entire time,” Jacob said. “I had this humiliated look on my face. It was a really funny experience to have,” he said, from his room at a nearby psychiatric hospital. (Italics mine.)
Fortunately, that was the only awkwardness Jacob had to endure that day, because the cake was a hit at his party. Jacob’s friends all took selfies with it, and the censored portion of the cake was so funny that nobody wanted to eat it. Cara later posted the cake with her story on Facebook, where it racked up hundreds of likes.
Hopefully this ordeal helped us all brush up on our Latin. But if you have a birthday coming up, and you have a dirty-sounding name, let’s say “Dick Boner,” (which is a real name!) don’t get your cake at Publix.