Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Friday, May 31, 2013

The Swearing Art

A repost for a busy day . . .
She of the foul mouth . . .

There are creative ways of making one's anger and frustration known.
Even when one is . . . little.
My friend's two eldest children were having 'one of those days'. When arguments erupted at regular intervals. And no one was happy.
Periodically, one of them would go to their mother and say, “Sister said the 'S' word!”
Now their mother was an adult.
I probably don't need to point that out.
She knew what the 'S' word was. But had no idea how her children had learned it.
Appropriate punishment was carried out.
A few minutes later, the other child was at her side. “Brother said the 'S' word!”
This went on for some time.
Finally, totally exasperated, their mother pulled both of them aside and asked them where they had learned the 'S' word.
“Well you and Dad say it!”
Now my friend lived in a non-cursing home. Expletives were kept strictly within certain bounds. She knew she had never, in her entire life, said the 'S' word.
She shook her head. “When did I say it?”
“Mom, you say it all of the time!”
“Really?”
“All the time!”
Finally, she realized that there was one question she had not asked.
“Kids, what is the 'S' word?”
Together they chorused, “Stupid!”
Ah. Okay. Not a desirable word, but not quite what she was thinking, either . . .

We, too had our forbidden family curse words.
Mom and Dad had a problem with children abusing each other verbally.
Stupid was a no-no.
But we were raised on a ranch.
With hired men.
Whose language was, how shall I say it? . . . colourful. And it was inevitable that we should pick some of it up.
I remember the first time we heard our little sister curse. It shocked my younger brother and I to our toes.
That's a lot of shock.
We stared at our tiny sister in disbelief. Had we heard what we had just heard?
Mom was gonna have something to say about this!
We ran to tell her.
Let's face it, getting each other into trouble was the thing we liked doing the most.
Because.
“Mom! Mom! Anita said something bad!”
Mom stopped what she was doing and followed us to where the guilty party stood.
Feet planted.
Chin out.
Bristling with anger and defiance.
Mom knelt next to her.
“Anita, what did you say?”
“Nothing.”
“Anita, Diane and Blair told me you said a bad word. What was it?”
“I didn't say anything!”
“Anita!”
Finally she sighed. "Stupid Poop,” she said.
Her three-year-old ears had heard what the hired men had spouted and processed it to this?
There was hope for the world after all.
'Stupid poop' remained our most formidable curse for many, many years.
Until it was replaced by something more worldly, as recounted here.
Ah, the price of living in the world . . .

19 comments:

  1. Stupid poop! But seriously, isn't that the most adorable thing??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And with three-year-old inflection? Priceless!

      Delete
  2. A friend of mine, with 2 boys, lets them have garage talk. They can swear all they want IN the garage doing men-stuff when you work on cars and boats. But out of the garage or in front of their momma? Big no-no

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish I could separate like that. The 'bad' words seem to slip in everywhere! :)

      Delete
  3. So funny! I got punished once for swearing but in fact I had invented a new word to express my frustration - it was a cross between the real "s" word and "shucks" ... my mother wouldn't even listen to my explanation!

    You describe this so well - I can just see that defiant little sweetie saying that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm. Made up words eh? Why didn't I think of that?

      Delete
  4. You learn all sorts of new words herding cattle on a hot day.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hahhah! Love it. My kids used to think dummy butt was the worst thing they could ever say. Weird thing is, no one in our family ever says that but the littles. Hmmmm ;) Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dummy Butt! I love it!! My brothers used "Pimple Pants". Never figured that one out! :)

      Delete
  6. I have awarded you an award. Check out thefeatherednest to collect it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. so hard not to laugh at times like this!
    Emily
    www.weakandloved.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hand firmly over the mouth so the perpetrator won't see . . . :)

      Delete
  8. This reminds me of a radio commentator I listened to when I was a child, one morning he announced that he was going to say something shocking, absolutely shocking. So we were all tuned in listening, as kids do, and he whispered...."stocking tops". We were hysterical! This was back in the early 60s, before pantyhose and mini skirts, when stocking tops were a shocking sight.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stocking tops!!! That IS hysterical! Once my sister, newly and happily married, asked an ex-boyfriend if he wanted to see her tan lines. He, also newly married, said, with some eagerness, I might add, "Sure!" She slid back her wedding ring and said, "See!" Totally shocking . . .

      Delete
  9. That was hilarious! And it seems the word 'poop' is in everyone's childhood story! Including my son (who has Down syndrome). About a year ago, my son starting saying, "Mom! Fruit cake!" Giggle, giggle. "Nice, dear," I replied. "MOM! FRUIT CAKE!" Giggle, giggle, giggle. "OK, sweetie, fruit cake." MOM-EE! Fruit-cake!" Giggle, giggle, giggle, giggle. "I know, honey, fruit cake." It turns out he was not saying 'fruit' cake...

    ReplyDelete

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