Inspired by hypersensitive people with squeamish sensibilities and ridiculous pretensions (or those who just don't get that I was born with a dominant irreverence gene). Stop giving me the stink eye. And now, a little history . . .
I'm a cusser. I make NO apologies. I have been a cusser since I was about nine, and my tomboy cousin Cheryl and I discovered we were accomplished wordsmiths in disguise. Blonde hair pulled into pigtail braids, we saucy fourth graders had been set free on a hot summer day to walk 500 yards to the Safeway store for gum. As we crossed the dusty field behind my grandmother's house, Cheryl said these words: "Let's cuss."
This was the pinnacle of bright ideas, and I quickly tried my hand at it. I forced a word out of my voicebox to see how easily it fit in my mouth, floated off my tongue, and hung in the air. "Fa-a-art."
Not quite the taboo obscenity of the time, but I was working up to the big stuff. We laughed out loud. What else can you do when someone says fart? It's reflexive. Say it: "Fart." Try not to giggle. Bet you can't.
Cousin Cheryl wasted no time in lobbing a return. She uttered the cuss word my father had tossed around since I could sit on the pot by myself. She said: "Shit." Pretty much the mother of cuss words in my little world. We both gasped and volleyed more lewdness until we ran out of material. In other words, thirty seconds. We then began to use select words in complete sentences, sort of like a vocabulary lesson in a self-paced learning environment. You get that, right Vodka Mom?
Cheryl: Bobbie farted like a balloon loopty-looping to the ceiling.
Me: He quit laughing when it turned out he pooped his pants! Oh, wait, he shit his pants!
Yeah, we were crazy out of control, marveling at our ingenuity, keen usage of the forbidden, and bravery when no one else was around to slap the bejeezus out of us.
I remember fondly, circa 1972, when my mother shouted at my sister, Dee, who as a preteen had been caught slinging an F-bomb at my brother (he totally deserved it). My mother clenched her teeth and shouted, "Stop that cussing shit!" When she realized the irony, even she couldn't hide a smile. See? In the genes.
Thirty-some-odd years later, this form of expression is just part of my everyday vernacular. I try to refrain from it in mixed company (a meager effort, yes, but I'm a natural-born pleaser). And I admit I can't really quit anytime I want. I'm destined to be a crusty centenarian, heading to the sweet by and by with a fulfilling vulgarity rolling off my tongue.