My own personal goal for this month… next month… any month, really: to swear less. At least in front of the children. At the children. I mean, in front of the children. I don’t swear at them. At least not out loud. Much. Hey, it’s been a stressful month, ok? Anyway. My goal. Swear less. So it’s eerily appropriate that I revisit today the time Cinder regaled me with all the swear words he knew.
We picked up some books at the library yesterday, including a stack of “Phonics Comix” for Cinder by request. He’s flipping through one on the way to the car. “Fuck! The only word in this book I can read is “moo!” Well, I guess this one here is probably cow…”
A few hours later that night, as we are getting ready for bed, said child comes up to be with a sneaky look on his face. “Hey, mom–do you want to hear me say all the swear words I know?”
(What, by the way, would be the proper response to this request?)
I say, “Um, not particularly.”
“Are you sure?”
“Have you a burning desire to regale me with all the swear words you know?”
So he starts to list off—an amazingly modest list, actually that starts with “darn”—not “a real one, but apparently it used to be, did you know that?”—gives top billing to “Jesus Christ!” (which is what Catholic-raised I holler when I explode a pyrex baking dish and what not)—proceeds through shoot, shit and fuck, adds for reasons I do not understand “shoulder” and then, after a dramatic pause, finishes with hell.
“So, do you want to know how I learned these?”
“Unfortunately, I think we can trace pretty much every single one of those to either me or Daddy.”
“Um… I guess. But actually, the other day, at the potluck party, we played this game, Truth or Dare, and one of the kids was dared to say all the swear words he knew, and he did, and I was taking notes.”
“You know, mental notes. And KH said swear words were useful things to use if you wanted to offend your enemies, did you know that?”
“But if I want to offend my enemies, I know something better! Know what?”
“I will bend over and fart at them!”
From Life’s Archives, Swearing, February 3, 2009
If you liked this, you’ll love this: Why Parents Swear