[Here’s a bit of senior humor by one of the Charleston Mercury columnists, Patra Taylor.]
Forget the chocolates…
After two months of soulful introspection, I have determined that there are two kinds of cursing: environmental and situational. Figuring this out is a result of resolving to purge myself of the curse of cursing after learning that my fellow-Ohioans are the foulest mouthed folks in the nation.
After committing myself to be curse-free, my first encounter with cursing of the environmental nature occurred on New Years Day when my husband and I went to the movie theater to see “The Wolf of Wall Street.” For three solid hours, the film enveloped me in a plentitude of cursing and other forms of debauchery, leaving me feeling like I’d been sucker punched in the gut.
“Well, that was an interesting plot,” my husband offered as we buckled into our car seats.
“There was a plot?” I retorted.
That was the last of the sentences that formed in my head that didn’t mirror the foul language in the film, giving me my first indicator that in order to break my cursing habit, I had to stay away from those who curse profusely, even if they are on a movie screen. I nodded and shrugged at my husband’s movie analysis all the way home, then crawled into bed, pulled the covers over my head and tried to conger up thoughts of sugar and spice and everything nice for the next three hours.
Cleaning up my act wasn’t easy
On January 2, I encountered my first experience with situational cursing since deciding to clean up my act. Stephen had gone to bed early but I’d stayed up to watch several television programs I’d recorded. When my eyes got heavy, I tippy-toed into the bedroom, but instead of slipping silently into bed as to not disturb my snoring husband, I tripped over a laundry basket, stumbled into the bed where I promptly whacked my shin on the bed frame.
“Son of a…”
You know the phrase. It’s the very one used by Ralphie in “A Christmas Story” the moment he realizes his much-sought-after decoder was nothing more than an advertisement for Ovaltine®. Peter Billingsley delivered that line brilliantly but because of my Buckeye upbringing I can deliver it even better. And louder.
“Are you OK?” inquired by groggy husband.
“Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow,” I whined. A little sympathy would be nice. “I tripped over a laundry basket and cracked my shin.”
“Yeah, I saw it there earlier and thought you’d left it in a pretty dumb place.”
Real-ly? In situations like these–when severe pain meets insolence (perceived or otherwise)–those of us who have cursed modestly throughout their lives tend to completely succumb to our primal urges and “let ’er rip.” I already owed one quarter to my curse jar, so I crawled into bed saying, “Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow,” but thinking (here’s the cleaned up version), “You thought I was dumb and yet it never occurred to you to get up off your inert buttockical region and shove that laundry basket somewhere dark and out of the way?” In it’s original draft, I would have not only owed my curse jar a handful of coins, I would have also owed my husband an apology, and quite possibly an “I’m sorry” breakfast for my profound over-reaction. Despite an aching shin, I was starting to see the upside to not cursing.
On January 4, I encountered another situation that, quite frankly, demanded a great deal of cursing…the Orange Bowl in which Clemson beat my beloved Ohio State. Losing the game was bad enough, but I couldn’t even deliver by favorite retort. “Ohio State still has the best <expletive deleted> band in the land.” It’s not the best darn band, or the best dog-gone band, or the best dagnabbit band in the land. It’s the best <expletive deleted> band in the land! At times like that, what’s a Buckeye girl trying to quit cursing to do but dig for quarters from the bottom of her purse and pray for strength.
As the last two months have unfolded, I’ve had days of smooth sailing interrupted by moments of intense desire to add that extra bit of Oomph! to my sentence structure by including curse words, either singularly or in complex linguistical constructions, in my communications. My curse jar jingles with the evidence of my slips of the tongue, but overall, I think I’m beating the habit. Even as I work to create satisfying replacements for certain words and phrases I’ve used over my lifetime, I take solace in one thing: “Southern Charm.” After watching the preview episode of the Bravo TV series, with its many bleeps, I realized that those of us born in the land of Sherman are not alone when it comes to our foul mouths
Here’s more senior humor from one of the Charleston Mercury columnists, Patra Taylor.