Saturday, Mar. 05, 2005 | 8:06 p.m.
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The Finer Points of Cussing
"Oh?" I said. "What word?" I'm racking my brain for outright profanity in the movie and coming up short and Gab hesitates, making me think it must be a really good one. I must admit I was sort of anticipating what badness lurked between the covers of a movie novelization.
"Jack-A," she practically whispered.
"Oh!" I laughed. "That's not really a bad word, honey. It's just another word for donkey. It's kind of like 'damn' -- just not that bad."
Silence in the back seat.
"Not that you'd want to call anyone a jackass," I hastened to add, thinking of all the times I have said worse.
See folks, I swear like a sailor. It's awful. There is a tape floating around somewhere in my family where my aunt's husband jokingly admonishes me for saying "fuck" in front of Jasmine. "Oh please!" I said derisively. "Fuck, fuck, fuck! Fuck the fucking fuckers! They're just words -- they don't have any more or less power than any other word unless we give it to them." I know -- perhaps not my most shining moment of mom-ness.
Back to this afternoon, I began to launch into a discussion of the degrees of swearing, you know, that words like "damn" and "ass" just don't quite have the same impact as "shit" or "fuck." Then I stopped myself. What was I doing? Shouldn't I be educating my child in the ways of expressing herself in other ways? Wasn't I insulting her intelligence by thinking she couldn't find better ways to express her dismay at something than "shit" (not that she would, mind you)? And what on this green earth was I doing having this particular discussion with my child? I'm pretty damned sure it's not in any parenting manuals. I'm pretty sure I haven't seen "Chapter 5: The Finer Points of Cussing" in any books by Drs. Spock or T. Berry Brazelton or Sears.
Then I thought, "Fuck it. ('cause I swear like a sailor, even in my thoughts) There should be." In my book? The book on parenting kids in the real world? The one that addresses hearing about sex on the playground and finding out Santa isn't real? It will be in that one. And maybe I'll include a list of inventive swearing combinations, you know, advice like "add 'wad' to any swear word and instantly you have a new disgusting image of the person you are insulting..."
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