Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Potty Mouth

My best friend in grade three used the F word all the time. Nine year olds swearing may seem ridiculous to anyone over the age of ten but when you're there, in the trenches of the schoolyard, it's pretty badass. This swearing business, I'm convinced, is related to the dubious activity of tossing a 7UP can between yourselves, or throwing it against the wall, waiting for that moment of truth when the integrity gives and sticky syrup sprays chaotically everywhere. These cans, it must be noted, were hardy beasts unlike the paper foil used today.
    I couldn't do the F word. It was wrong. For a short time I threw an L in there but fluck doesn't have the same bite and people look at you funnier than if you just swore. A few years before, kindergarten age, I was doing a primal dance of my own design while staring out the back screen door. It was in the house we lived in for only a year. My only other memory of that house was of me gouging the black rubber substance surrounding the back screen door with a small plastic giraffe. This primal dance consisted of me gazing into the yard, my arms held out and up making ninety degree angles, my knees bopping upwards in rhythm almost touching elbows as I chanted fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck musically. I was letting all the bad word mojo out. My mother busted me, of course and I cried with embarrassment. I ran to my room crying sorrys and flung myself on the bed.
    When I was ten the Canadian band Trooper had a hit song "Raise A Little Hell". To continue with the L motif I sang along to it with a robust childish 'Raise A Little Ell' since hell was a bad word too. This is me singing along under my breath at nightie when the radio was on. This is secret self censored singing. Hell had to be reigned in because though ours was not a particularly religious family we did observe the ubiquitous Greek custom of hanging crosses over kids beds and devoting a corner of the kitchen to Byzantine style iconography. I didn't want to evoke or invoke or in any way attract hell so I cut the H.
    It took me a long while to start swearing, maybe grade eight or nine even though all the men in the family cursed magnificently, calling each other malaka (wanker, essentially) and never hiding the word gamoto (fuck it, essentially) from the kids. I now have a problem with swearing, often resorting to an easy F word instead of thinking up something better.