Friday, March 14, 2008

The great and terrible "F" word...

First, I'd like to post a new apology, because my middle name is "I am fucking sorry, ok?":

To the people on certain streets of my hometown: I'm sorry I drove through this morning at 6:11 a.m. with my windows rolled down, singing Hanson's "Penny and Me" at the top of my lungs, yo'. But I hadda go to my office and retrieve my phone charger...


I remember once, when I was a little girl, my cousins Angie and Paula came to visit. Angie was a year older than me, and Paula a year younger, so the three of us got along fairly well. I was terrified of their mother, and of course, they were too, doncha know, because she was a frightful bitch back in those days. She's since changed in the most fabulous ways, but that's a story for another day...

We had these three or four pine trees on our property, with really low branches. They were easy to climb, and though I wasn't technically supposed to climb them, Angie and Paula and I were like little monkeys that day, climbing and swinging and laughing and daring each other to climb faster, go higher. I remember that it was great fun, made more so by the danger of trying not to get caught doing it.

After a while, we each found branches to sit on and settled in for a story. Angie told us she was going to tell us a secret and we must swear not to tell. Now, mind you, I don't know about you, but I took this shit seriously. Remember, I was a very good girl back then. I solemnly swore never to tell what she was about to reveal to us. I'm sure I was a little scared. Climbing trees AND swearing to secrecy? It was all a bit much for my little country-girl mind... I remember Paula's eyes were big and she looked a little scared too, but she went along.

And then Angie said that most awful of all curse words. That word that was guaranteed to bring a beating down upon any kid unlucky enough to utter it. The great and terrible "F" word. I threw both hands up over my mouth and nearly fell from the branches. What in the world had I gotten myself into? Oh, I knew this word was bad. I don't remember how I knew it, but I knew without doubt that I was going to bust hell wide open and Angie and Paula would be right there with me.

"Ah-ah-AH!" I whispered, in that sing-songy little way kids have of telling you what you just did was the worst of the worst, and you were gonna get an ass busting for it as soon as they found someone to tell who was big enough to give it to you.

"Do you know what it means?" Angie asked me, smugly. Being one year older gave her certain advantages, like knowing all the latest cool things, and she lorded that over us like a tyrant.

I shook my head yes, then no. "It's baaaad," I whispered again. I looked at Paula, and she looked terrified. "Angie, you're gonna be in trouble," Paula said.

"I'm not gonna get in any trouble if you two morons don't tell anybody what I said!" she told us derisively. "Who's gonna know I said it?"

And then she proceeded to tell us EXACTLY what it meant. She hadn't said more than three or four sentences before Paula burst into tears. "Mommy and Daddy do NOT do that! You're lying, and I'm telling!!" Paula climbed down out of the tree and raced off, only not in the direction of the house. She knew better than to go tell on Angie. Their very survival seemed to hinge on their sticking together in those days.

Angie didn't bat an eyelash. She looked at me and proceeded to finish telling me all of it. And I sat, completely unable to move, and listened to it. It was the most horrific of all horror stories. I couldn't listen, and I couldn't not listen. I sat like a stone, through it all. I hated Angie that day. And I hated my mommy and daddy, if they did what Angie said they most certainly HAD done, at least THREE times. And probably more.

Angie grew bored waiting for a reaction from me. I remember her laughing "See ya' later, little BABY," tossed back over her shoulder as she ran off to find Paula.

I sat quietly and cried, hot tears stinging my eyes and staining my cheeks. I knew that I had learned something that day that little girls were not supposed to know about. And knowing it was a great and terrible burden. I knew that I had lost something that I wouldn't ever get back, though I'm sure I wasn't savvy enough to realize that it was a precious drop of my innocence.

I never told anyone what Angie told us. I never asked anyone if what she said was true. I learned much later, through reading, that most of what she said was accurate enough, though exaggerated by her childish mind, and her need to enrich her story enough to terrify two younger girls. And I was sad for Angie, most of all...


Burfica said...

That's okay, for years I thought the F word was Farmer. My mother used that word like a curse word all the time.




Yeah I looked stupid saying that in high school.

damon said...

I can't remember the first time I heard it, but I remember the last time I said it!

Tom said...

I love saying it.

Freckles, Freckles, Freckles...

I never did understand what was so bad about it.