I can’t remember what I said, but I remember the gesture that accompanied it. I didn’t understand the extent of my mother’s anger. I was standing with my back to her, rolling my eyes, mumbling something. The crowning of the moment was a jerky thumb point over my shoulder, a cock of my head and the implied “can you believe this idiot” hand motion. Like an angry, squinty-eyed Fonz using his trademark thumb as a way to say, “Get out of my sight.”
I don’t remember how I got there: ushered or dragged. I can remember being boxed into the tiny half-bath, meeting my mother’s eyes in the mirror. I remember the beige pedestal sink, the golden-toned soap, the taste, the tears and the gagging, the towel and the rinsing. And, unfortunately, I can remember this happening more than once.
I never had a dirty mouth. The problem was emphasis and tone, and a consistent failure at feigning innocence. Cursing, though, has never been my thing. My clever young-teen friends and I developed the opposite of an acronym. Not at all antonyms – but rather elongation of words we weren’t allowed to say. I don’t think the words would even make it onto a list of preferential parental no-no words for the last quarter century.
Sugar-Honey-Iced-Tea. Somehow, we even managed to justify dragging it through an ignorant impression of a southern draw; exaggerated, quite uncharming and probably fooling no one. Carp-Eggs was another; a tad more obscure. Flip around the two between the C and P. ‘Eggs’ was just added as camouflage; weak camouflage. Skating and twirling around the real phrases, I chose to go with close-ers: Son of a Monkey’s Butt. Door knob.
Somewhere between there and here, I acquired comfortableness for playful cursing, for restricted use only in emphatically appropriate situations. A phrase involving a sexual act and ending in “a Duck” slipped out one day, in the presence of someone who should have never heard that, especially not from me. Despite our agreeable amusement, I insisted we be sworn to secrecy.
Somewhere in my recent timeline, the real McCoys have taken over. I’ve absorbed these words my whole, sponge life. Even saturated, I never intended to use them often and commonly. Behind the wheel, in the living room, alone, in private and public conversations, the nastiness rolls out as easily as the next breath rolls in. I enjoy the volume and shock. It feels good. It feels angry, and I’ve been very angry lately, mindlessly injecting inappropriate adjectives, repetitively
This reminds me of a story my father would tell, ending in a subtle menacing point. Having returned home from a teenage testosterone filled Boy Scout Camp summer, where boys do and say what coming of age boys do and say, he matter-of-factly requested that his father pass him the fucking salt. He didn’t get the salt. He did get a strong backhand. I got the message.
I have been emotionally caught myself up in my own net. Thrashing and shouting, getting meaner and meaner, and I’ve finally figured out that isn’t going to help and that it doesn’t feel as good as it did when I first allowed it. I don’t need to cut and slash myself loose. I just need to stop, sit still and wait for the moment to pass.
Going cold turkey isn’t on the schedule, yet. Maybe at the end of the Condo Chronicles I will revert back to the lady-like impression I strive to project. Until then, I’ve coined a few playfully offensive you-know-what-I’m-getting-at words to hopefully be used less frequently and more sparingly than I have been the real ones. Bumblefluck. Fidiot. Maybe later on down the line, for lesser situations, I’ll tone it down to a more commonly feminine Ratsafrass or Dilligaf.
In the meantime, I have no intention of sucking on soap, and I’ll do my best not to disparage any more ducks.
Quote for the Week:
Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:
Science Supports Swearing: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-do-we-swear/
History of Soapy Mouths: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washing_out_mouth_with_soap
Bad Jokes (some about ducks): http://www.recreationtherapy.com/tx/trajokes.htm