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Grave Language

It's a Dad's responsibility to teach them right...

I recognized that look. That distinctively mischievous grin of a Cheshire Cat. That smirk of having swallowed Granny’s Tweety Bird. That poorly hidden giggle of having released, in the back seat, a silent killer with hopes that blame would befall his sister.

The boy was bursting at the seams. He wanted to tell me, but was unsure he should. However, he had to tell someone, and the other parental unit was not available nor the correct choice. I finally put him out of his misery by puncturing his innocence, releasing the pressure of his new fond discovery.

“What’s on your mind, boy?” I innocuously asked.

“I’m not sure I should tell you,” he sheepishly replied, but my, oh my, he badly wanted to.

“Buddy, you can tell me anything.” That was a lie, of course.

There are things I do not want to know about, especially things that should remain private once he reaches his early teen years. Sadly, those same things will continue into adulthood and I suspect, being the ingenuitive creatures we men are, we will find a way to continue that activity into the grave.

Next time you visit a cemetery, imagine the firm grip on nothingness half the residents of those grave sites have. Dudes will be dudes and they get bored. You are most welcome for that vividly disturbing image.

But I have seriously, SERIOUSLY digressed.

“What is it, my son?” I offered in an uncomfortably pious tone.

“I… I learned a bad word today.” His face became serious. This was real. He knew I was going to ask and he knew he had committed to say. I did ask and he told.

“Which one is that?” I hoped for a good one.

“Fook,” he shared with mediocrity.

I was horrified!

Oh My God! My son is learning this stuff on the playground of life!

I had to respond quickly. This had so many ways to go sideways and wrong, especially in the presence of others, including but not limited to, older boys, men, bikers, and the occasional nun. I almost asked him to use it in a sentence, but I chose wisely not to. I wish I had that same resolve with the girl. She brings out the worst possible parenting in me.

“Did you mean, fuck?”

“Nope. He did say fook,” he confidently, but cautiously defended, also recognizing he just swore for me again.

“What did he say, exactly?” my inquiring mind asked, assuming it was another boy, but I needed to know. I had my suspicions.

“So-and-so said ‘Fook Woo’ to another boy that was teasing him.”

Pausing, wondering but knowing, that this was not the time to talk about cultural insensitivities, or the fact that that boy was still missing his two front teeth, I chose to focus on the correctness of profanity and its pronunciation and usage. Near-racism will need to be tackled another day.

Plus, and most importantly, if you are going to swear, Boy, curse like a fucking man!

I proceeded to correct his broken English, substituting it with the pride and harshness that that word deserves. That shining, award-winning parenting performance will serve him well for the rest of his days, and beyond.

I guarantee that, if multiple generations of father’s have taught their sons well, you will know.

If you visit a graveyard and begin to smirk because you had read this story, it is not wind whistling through the trees you hear, nor a chorus of fook woo’s. You are getting the real thing because we Dads did our job.


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