Let’s talk about curse words for a second. Because I love talking about those fuckers. Oopse!
Don’t you love how someone will say “What a BITCH! Pardon my french…” It’s like, that..was not french…and you don’t actually sound very sorry for saying it. I wonder how that started. But not enough to actually google it. Anyway, I bring up the subject of curse words because I used a bunch of them in my car this morning as I was stuck going 35 miles per hour on the Causeway. (For you Yankees, the Causeway is the longest continuous bridge over water in the world, and runs across Lake Ponchartrain connecting the North Shore to New Orleans. Fun facts yaaay.) So this morning there was thick fog, and that means the normal 65 mph speed limit (which is actually more like 75 mph, let’s get real) was dropped to 35 mph. It seems like overkill to me, but I’m trying to talk about curse words here so why don’t I stick to the DAMN subject. I was headed to New Orleans to take my nursing school entrance exam, and at the rate of traffic I was never gonna make it. Thus, the curse words ensued…
I don’t know what the satisfaction is in saying curse words, but it seems like whatever point you’re making, it adds the perfect amount of emphasis. It makes funny things funnier and angry things angrier and unimportant things seemingly more important. For example: Who ate all the corn flakes? Vs. Who ate all the Fucking Corn Flakes? See how that works? Anyway I started thinking about curse words and a conversation popped into my head that I had with my grandparents around the dinner table a few years back. The conversation had died down a bit and out of the blue my soft-spoken, conservative grandpa asks me “Mary, would you ever let a boy talk dirty to you?” I started to choke on my meatloaf immediately and washed it down with lemonade. I clear my throat. “What do you mean?” He went on to tell me that on the golf course that afternoon, a couple was playing near him, and the man kept cursing in front of his wife. “Even the F word,” he raised his eyebrows at me. “You wouldn’t let a man talk like that in front of you, would you?” I shook my head no, I lied. But for what it’s worth, I prefer people not to curse. Unless you’re alone in your car on a bridge. It was right after this that my Grandma (also named Mary, I’m named after her) said something extraordinary. “You know, I have Never used that word in my life, and I never will.” I know what you’re thinking–she’s lying. But if you knew her, you’d know that 1. she doesn’t lie and 2. it’s totally believable that she’s never used it. She’s as pure and innocent as they come. It really struck me when she said that. I had said it that morning just brushing my hair.
Another memory pops into my head concerning curse words. My dad was another one of those pure souls. Never did drugs, hardly drank, and never cursed. He hardly even raised his voice. He was similar to my grandma in that way. And he didn’t refrain from those things in some kind of stick-in-the-mud fashion. He was a TON of fun. He was a lot of people’s best friend. (At his funeral there were six eulogies. Six.) Anyway, it was about a year after he was diagnosed with cancer that the six of us were getting ready to go out to dinner. He had just gotten home from work at the grocery store. We rarely ate out, so it was always kind of an occastion when it happened. We were all waiting outside our enormous Chevy Grey Van (with carpeted walls) when my dad went back inside to get something. When he opened the front door, our 110 pound labrador retriever burst through, wiggled through my dads hands and took off down our neighborhood street. My dad, the smiling, mild-mannered sweet man, transcended. Something snapped. He was NOT going to let Bacchus get away with this. Off he went, running, no— sprinting down Wilson Court, still in his suit, with his tie flapping behind him, yelling after Bacchus. ”You son of a bitch!” he yelled. At one point he began picking up rocks off the street, hurling them toward the dog. “You son of a bitch Bacchus!” Zoom, another rock. The dog, barely visible at this point, was miles ahead of him. Bacchus may have been a fat son of a bitch, but he was fast. My dad never stood a chance. The four kids and my mom stood in front of the van stunned with our jaws dropped. Who was this man? When he got to the stop sign, he gave up, slowly turned around and started the defeated walk home, panting. The five of us watched. I remember feeling uncomfortable because I had never heard him curse before, but suddenly I noticed, my mom was laughing, followed by the other three. One of those group laughers that starts small and bubbles into breathlessness and strange sounds. Something about it was incredibly refreshing. By the time he made it back he was laughing of too, of course. Through his diagnosis and the grim prognosis-6 months- he had always kept it together. Finally, our fat fast dog running down the street got him to lose it, just a little. Just for a moment. It was great.
I thought about these things as I finally made it to the end of the bridge. Turns out my test wasn’t until 9, not 8:30 like I had thought. So I was going to make it. All those F bombs for nothing. Maybe next time instead of saying that word when I’m upset, I’ll say what my grandma says: Fiddle Faddle.
Health, Happiness, and $%@!