I SOLEMNLY SWEAR

 

 

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[With apologies to God and Jesus Christ]

 

I swore I wouldn’t swear.

Swear to God.

I swear I did.

But then…something happened.

I tripped…or dropped something…or who-knows-what.

And expletives blew forth from my mouth.

And, like bullets shot from a gun, I couldn’t catch them.

Nor bring them back.

Remorse set in.

Shame and embarrassment.

Fortunately my dog was the only one around.

But I apologized to him nonetheless.

The energy accompanying such outbursts takes its toll.

I felt it reverberate throughout my nervous system.

And his too.

And I wondered…

How did I come to be so foul-mouthed?

And it came to me…

I come by it naturally.

My mother swore like a stevedore (her own description of herself).

According to family lore, I cursed at age three.

That’s going back a long way.

My mother and grandmother were sitting on the couch busy talking with me in-between them and I kept tugging on my mother trying to say something and my mother kept saying, “Just a minute, honey” and I finally had enough and muttered, “Jesus Christ” and climbed off the couch and waddled off. 

I didn’t get reprimanded because they couldn’t stop laughing.

But all the while growing up, we were never allowed to swear.

Mom’s favorite–and frequent–exclamation was “dammit.”

She often joked that it was my brother’s middle name.

As she was always yelling, “Roger! Dammit!”

Uncle George added spice to the mix with his prevalent “goddam” as an adjective to just about everything.

“Jean, when is goddam dinner?”

My brother and I adored him (and Aunt Jean) and loved when he called one of us a “squirrely outfit.”

They adored us, too, as they had no children of their own.

Uncle George was a gentle giant (as the cliché goes) who worked on high-steel bridge construction and liked his cold beer after work with salt sprinkled on top of the can.

He also liked his “martoonis” before dinner and a grasshopper after dinner.

Son-of-a-bitch and shit and hell were frequent responses to life that I heard growing up.

But no one ever used the F word.

Not ever.

However, that took top billing when I got married. 

My then-husband lived by it.

And I followed suit.

He even threw in a couple swear words in Spanish and I took to it like the proverbial duck to water.

Someone get the soap and wash this girl’s mouth out!

But alas, no one did.

So here I sit, intent on cleaning it up myself.

Following each expletive to the source.

Some of it is just plain habit.

Bad habit.

But mostly it’s triggered by frustration.

And irritation at being interrupted.

Which is all about control.

I’ve got one plan.

God has another.

And I throw a fit.

Arguing with reality.

If I’m walking here, but something causes me to go over there instead, then I have a choice. 

Go with the flow.

Or yell and scream.

And curse.

Ha!

(At my best, I resort to “jeez louise” or “what the heck” or “dang”…or my own personal exclamations of “Gilgamesh” or “Gefilte Fish” or “Gila Monster”…it makes a big freaking difference.)

Better to take the path of least resistance.

Stoically accept whatever happens.

Be like the Navajo:  adapt and endure.

Love what is.

And that’s peace on Earth.

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