by Kevin Bennett
There was one
week during childhood where I learned enough new
words to out-cuss any jab on the playground.
Words like "Shih-Tzu", and "Brothel,"
and one that's got four letters and begins with
an 'f'but not the one you think.
Monday as I
got off the bus, I asked the driver about a word
that just kinda came to mind: "What's a Shih-Tzu?"
"A fecal emporium," and drove off.
That night I
asked Dad: "Dad, what's a fecal emporium?"
zoo full of crap?"
but if the zoo only had that kind of dog, it
would be," he laughed. Mom slapped him. Mom
was always slapping people.
humor, that's for sure. I was playing with my
soup the next night, and had all the fixings to
one side and the broth to the other, and I
slapped my hands on the table and called out
goes on automatic for that kind of language, and
it nearly knocked my baby teeth out. I howled:
"A beaver dam! A beaver dam!"
Dad piped up:
"Y'know, honey, a brothel."
Before I could
ask what a brothel was, dad ducked so quick his
plate impersonated a catapult and the cats had a
head-on collision going for it, fighting over the
meat and rolling into a plant which hit Mum, who
made a sound like a goose that'd been goosed and
went for the frying pan while Dad beat it up the
were at the China-King uptown, and while we
walked past the buffet Dad read from a dish:
"Peking Pork," then turned with a grin;
"They oughta' call that zipper-down, son."
I didn't get
the joke 'till I was fifteen.
principal profanity came when I got home Friday
looking troubled. The folks could tell, and
thought they'd wait me out. Dad would shrug
his shoulders, Mum would squint at him. Finally
Dad asked: "Son, what's the"
shocked: "Where did you hear it!?"
I played with
my peas. "Dad says it all the
very slowly, and I saw frying pans in her eyes. Dad
went pale and his Adam's-apple jiggled. The
cats got ready for catapulted meatthey
figured the word was built on them. Looking at
mom from the corner of his eye, Dad said: "Well
what is it, son?"
you sure you want me to"
goodness-sake! Say it or I'm lasagnayou
won't get in trouble."
forward conspiratorially, looked around the room
suspiciously, then whispered: "Fart."
leaned back. Mum put a hand to her mouth and
Dad mirrored her. I wondered why. When Mum spoke,
she sounded choked up: "That's certainly a
vulgar, nasty, horrible word."
right, don't you use itnow, eat your peas;
Mum and I will get desert."
I didn't know
the wailing sounds from the other room were
laughter 'till I was fifteen, either.