..Shut your mout’! I was talking with a friend the other day, and it conjured up an old story I wanted to share with my readers. Some names have been changed to protect the identity of the innocent. Well, kind of (you’ll see my method of protecting the “innocent”).
It was second grade, circa 1985. What happen that morning, would change the course of my life: forever. I was riding the bus that morning, as I had always done. I heard a word I had never heard before. The word had so much power, so much umph, that it reminds me of the first time I heard James Brown’s “Superbad.” Ow! I heard a kid say, “[inaudible]….motherf#cker.” Wow. I had never heard this word before. It was like I had just bit into a piece of “Bonker’s fruit candy” (for those of you who remember that). I immediately tried out my new-found word of triumph, as I arrived to school. I thought, “Yep. That word feels just as powerful as it sounds.” Fate would have it that I would be able to use my new compound word in a sentence, later.
Let’s fast-forward to class. So, in those days, I was in Mrs. Foote’s class (that’s her real name). I remember her so vividly because she wore leather sandals that had the letter “A” on them (equipped with hose). She was in her early 20’s, and I thought she was, well, “hot” (that was until I saw her kissing her husband through the door one day, outside of the classroom. A piece of me died that day…..LOL).
At any rate, here we were, in class. I sat next to this girl named “Eimo” (of course I sort of made that name up). Back then, she was my ultimate enemy, simply because she was a girl. We shared a mutual disliking for each other. This describes the saying, “Agree to disagree,” perfectly. Anyway, our desks were in pairs, so naturally we sat next to each other. I was comfortably relaxing in my seat, sitting at my desk with my hands folded, when I was accosted by Eimo: the ruffian. Okay, I embellished a little. Really, I was slouched in my chair, and my seat was positioned in Eimo’s personal space. She said, “Herbie, move your chair!” [See, I told you she was a ruffian.] I promptly responded, “No, girl!” She then raises her hand and said, “Mrs. Foote, Herbie won’t move his chair!” Mrs. Foote then responded, “Herbie, please move your chair.” Of course, any request from the “teacher of my dreams” was going to yield an affirmative response from me. Just as I got up, I remembered my new word from earlier. [It’s showtime!] So, in true Herbert fanfare, I mumbled (not quietly enough, apparently) under my breath, “You motherf@cker.”
You know, I instantly knew that I had done something gravely wrong because the whole class exclaimed, “Oooooooooooooh, ” in unison. I didn’t know exactly what I had done, but I started crying (and my cry is the ugly cry). I started sniffle-crying, complete with tears and snot dripping from their respective places. Mrs. Foote instantly called me to the front of the classroom. She said, “That is a bad word! Where did you learn that?!” I told her (in between the jerk of hick-up induced breathing), “I didn’t know [that it was a bad word]! I heard it on the bus.” She asked the class, “What should be the punishment for Herbie, class?” I began crying a little more, as I imagined faint chants of “death,” off in the distance. One student said, “He should lose his recess, ” as other students agreed by shouting, “yeah.”
So, my friend, “Gerg”, raised his hand. I thought to myself, “Yeah, maybe he can help take some of the heat off of me.” After all, he and I played football together in the front before school each morning. Gerg said, “I think we should call his parents.” The flood gates of tears began to fall, as I cried like never before. I thought, “What the hell, man?! Et tu, Brute? Do you want me to die?” My parents would’ve killed me, and revived me just in time for school the next morning.
After weighing the options, my teacher decided to forgive me and not tell my parents, if I promised to never do it again. I willfully promised to never use that word again (well, at least until middle school). What’s the moral of the story? I don’t know, but I’ve received so many lessons as a result. Some of them are:
#1: Never trust “Gerg” again.
#2 Try new words around someone you trust first, before saying them in public.
#3 Don’t repeat what others say, if you don’t know what it means.
#4 Payback can be a, well, you know…..(Eimo would win this one, but I there would be future opportunities).
Gerg and I forgot about the whole thing, and played football together the next day. Eimo, Gerg, and I graduated from high school together (not the following year, but years later, silly). I’m sure you’re wondering if my parents ever found out about my episode of “colorful” words. The answer is a big, fat NO (I know you secretly wished that they had)!
My parents, to this day, have no clue about this story….well, maybe now they do.
Until next time,
Love, Peace (and discretion).