Origins of the F-Bomb

I was in the laundry room last weekend, folding the mountain of laundry and half-listening to David and Kate talk to one another. From three rooms away, I heard something hit the floor followed by Kate jabbering something in her Kate way. I heard David ask, “What did you just say?”

She obliged him and repeated her word. “Fuck.”

David’s footsteps were suddenly coming in my direction. He pushed through the laundry room doors and looked at me with raised eyebrows. “I just dropped something on the floor and Kate said fuck!”

“No she didn’t.” I responded. “She said walk, it just comes out sounding like fuck.”

“No. She said fuck.” His eyebrows were climbing dangerously higher as he shot me a look of silent blame, then turned and left doors swinging in his wake.

It’s my fault. I’ll take the blame on this one, although, he isn’t immune to dropping the F-Bomb…let’s just make that clear. But the truth of the matter is that Kate spends the majority of her time in my presence. Who else would she have learned that filthy word from? Plus, her timing and usage of the F Word reeks of my frustrated responses to a dropped object. You know when you’re trying to rush three children out the door and you’re running slightly behind then a snack cup of Cheerios that you’re struggling to fill implodes all over the floor? Well, I might not realize it in the moment, but I’m quite sure that my response to the Cheerios rolling across the floor is a hearty, “FUCK!”

Can I share something else with you? I’m ashamed of my foul mouth. I am. Really. I’ve dug into the deep dark recesses of my brain, attempting to recover the memory of exactly who it was that swore like a sailor in my childhood. In that very Generation X way, I want to blame someone else for causing my foul mouthed outbursts. But who? I don’t remember anyone swearing quite as much as I do. Maybe it was my brother’s fault. He was five years older and I emulated him. I followed him and his friends around when they didn’t know I was following them. Pre-teen boys swear a lot, don’t they?

Once, I spied my brother and our neighbor sitting in a truck at our farm. Their heads bent over something that was out of my line of sight. I watched from the horse barn until my curiosity got the best of me, then meandered in their direction, dragging a stick through the dirt, I pretended to stumble upon them purely by accident. They were so engrossed in their magazine that they had no idea I was there until it was too late to hide the outdated issue of Hustler. “Whatcha doin’?”

I’ll never forget the look of guilty surprise on my brother’s face. As if they had been delivered an electrical shock, those two boys jumped and let out a startled sound that sounded a bit like a tiny yipping dog, courtesy of their changing voices. “NOTHING! GET OUT OF HERE!” Of course, being the annoying little sister, I completely ignored his seemingly harsh response to my perfectly reasonable query. “Whatcha lookin’ at?”

courtesy Google image search

“Get the FUCK OUTTA HERE!” He yelled in his high-pitched cracky changing voice. Okay, I don’t remember if that’s exactly what he said, but I do remember him yelling at me and his voice cracked. As he was yelling, he stuffed the red, dog-eared magazine under his leg. I shrugged and went on my merry way. I walked off nonchalantly dragging my stick through the dirt and acting as though I hadn’t seen a thing. I feigned complete disinterest in their smut and I allowed him to believe that I was stupid. But I went back. Yes, sir I sure did! After they had gone off to do some weird boy stuff, I went back and snooped in that old truck by the chicken coop. I found what I was looking for behind the driver’s seat. It was filled with the F Word, in every sense of the word.

Yeah, it’s totally my brother’s fault.

Payback’s a Bitch!

There was a game that we played as kids; I think we made it up. It was called The Tasting Game. It involved a blindfold and anything edible as long as it wouldn’t kill or maim a person. It was a game of trust or, alternatively, an opportunity for a sibling to exact her long-awaited plan of revenge.

My sister and brother really knew how to dole out the crap and, being the youngest,  I endured a fair amount of it. They had a knack for enticing me into a “fun” game with promises of candy and magic, but usually had a pre-determined agenda to make me the fool. For example, the time we happened upon a treasure map in the yard. It was the real deal, complete with authentically burned edges on aged parchment and a big red X marking a spot. Okay, I made that part up. It was actually crinkled up notepaper that they charred with a Zippo lighter. Nonetheless, I nearly peed my pants with excitement! I pursued that map’s circuitous instructions for what seemed like hours. My anticipation intensified with each step that brought me closer to the promise of riches. I told them that there was probably gold…pearls…diamonds, even! They were giddy with excitement –  slightly too giddy, in fact – but I was too involved to notice.

Finally, we found the ‘spot’. There it was, in a hollowed out tree trunk – a glistening gift miraculously delivered from the sea!

I feel compelled to point out that the Long Island sound was at least an hour away. 

But there it was… a golden treasure box that oddly resembled a cheap, gold foil-wrapped cardboard jewelry box from Reeds. With deep reverence for the history attached to its contents, I slowly lifted the lid from the box and gasped at the treasure inside. Three elbow macaroni and note reading, “Here’s your treasure noodle brain!”

Traci and Billy fell on the ground laughing and I stomped off, pissed at the world for impeding upon my fantastic imagination. Strike one, suckers!

Respectively, there is a difference of seven and five years between my sister, brother and I. So forgive me if, on the random day they suggested a game of hide and seek, I was gung-ho. I had no playmates! Shame on me for being so daft. Exactly how many times did I hide in the toy box before realizing that it was simply their golden opportunity to entomb me? Like clockwork, as soon as the counting began, I would run to the toy box and hurl toys across the room until there was sufficient room for my little body. I’d climb in and quietly close the lid, chuckling at the genius (predictability) of my hiding place. I would lay there trying to ignore the odor coming from Baby Alive’s putrid, moldy diaper and wait. I never waited long. As soon as the lid shut, I’d hear them running. They always threw themselves on the top of the trunk, sealing me inside that claustrophobic box. Ultimately, the amount of time they held me captive was determined by their eagerness to listen to me plead and cry. I finally learned that faked hyperventilation coupled with spastic thrashing got their attention. Following up with a death gasp and complete silence earned me a hasty exit. Strike two, you freaks!

The Tasting Game was a bit like Russian Roulette. If you agreed to play, you had to expect that you would be fed some unfathomable concoction from the refrigerator or pantry. Sometimes simultaneously.  Suspiciously, we often played the game when my father had stocked the fridge with tongue or pickled pig’s feet. Blindfolded and helpless, I recall being fed a heaping spoonful of jelly coated with mayonnaise and generously sprinkled with cayenne pepper. Strike three, you sadists!

With age, my cunning surpassed theirs. One day, when my now teenaged sister suggested that we pass the time with The Tasting Game, I agreed. I had been biding my time. I suggested that this time, perhaps she would like to go first.

Mwuaaaah-Ha-Ha-Ha

Clearly, she wasn’t anticipating my newfound smarts. I silently laughed (refer to above-referenced evil laugh) at her pompous belief that I’d simply feed her some spicy mustard. I played the game as she expected. The first spoonful was a benign and somewhat tasty mixture of jelly and cinnamon. She guessed the tastes with a smirk, thinking I was an idiot child. The second concoction was a blend of spicy german mustard and horseradish. She made a bit of a face but again, guessed the ingredients. I could see that she was impressed at my ability to take it up a notch with a little spice. That, my friends, was when I pulled out the big guns.

I pulled the refrigerator door open for the noise effect, then ran to the bathroom and dipped a cup into the cold, refreshing toilet water. I brought the cup back to the kitchen and made stirring sounds before I poured a spoonful of the chilled water onto a hefty soup spoon. “Are you ready?” I asked, as a depraved smile of triumph spread across my ten-year-old face.

The spoon moved through the air and toward her lips in slow motion speed. I watched as her lips slowly parted with a smile of anticipation. Quickly, I poured the contents of the soup spoon into her mouth. She swished, swallowed, and then made that tongue-smacking sound a person makes when they are attempting to determine a taste. “Its water”, she stated in a tone that suggested I was a rookie fool.

“Yes, but what kind of water?” I asked while slowly backing away. As I moved toward the door I could see her expression change beneath the blindfold. As realization struck, I heard her yell, “TOILET WATER? YOU JUST FED ME TOILET WATER?!”

She ripped the blind fold off her face as she hopped off the counter, but I was already gone.