Dirty Words and Other Stories.

In the sixties swearing wasn’t nearly as prevalent as it is today – at least not in my family. My dad was as old fashioned as they come. He would send women out of the room if he was going to tell his buddies a dirty joke. So we kids learned early not to swear – at least not within earshot of our parents.
My first brush with a truly dirty word came at around age six. My parents were taking us to Ontario for a two week vacation. The drive was long, hot, (no air conditioning), and BORING! Mom had packed coloring books and crayons to keep us amused for the first leg of our trip. But by day two, with the coloring books completed and around a hundred-thousand games of I Spy, we were at the end of our ropes.
These were the days of no seat belts. Yes, of course, the car was equipped with seat belts, but this was a different time. How many times did we fall off the seat when dad hit the brakes a little hard? And flying into the door was half the fun of driving – at least for my brothers who sat by the doors. For me, not so much. My brothers would take the opportunity to slam each other as hard as they could. This didn’t work out so well for the little sister who sat between them. It never seemed to occur to them that in order to slam each other, they had to slam me first. In truth, that was likely the best part for the two of them.
So there we are, driving down the highway, tempers in fine form. I’m sure mom and dad were having at least as much fun as us. I’m pretty sure they turned the radio up to drown out the constant yelling in the backseat. My parents were never much for spankers. I’m not saying they never spanked. This was the sixties, everyone spanked. (Spare the rod, spoil the child and all that garbage) I’m just saying, they didn’t spank often and without good cause. For instance, if you told your friend you’d pay them a dollar if they jumped out the second story window of your house… that worthy of a spanking in their eyes. Though I think being made to cough up a whole dollar, to the friend who jumped, hurt a whole lot more.
Now back to the highway. Being the only girl, my brothers often liked to play tricks on me. Like the time they told me my real parents had died when I was a baby. So my parents adopted me and had sworn my brothers to secrecy. Yeah, that was one of their best. I believed for years that I was adopted, but I’d sworn to god that I would never tell my parents that I knew their dirty secret. So every time mom or dad gave me hell for something, I’d go hide behind my bed and cry for my dead parents. What can I say? Sometimes my brothers were bastards!
Shall we try again? I’m thinking this highway is getting a little long for you too? But, hey, it gets you in the mood for what happened next. So, there’s mom and dad sitting in the front seat. Patsy Cline is Crazy on the radio. My brothers and I are huddled together in the back seat. They are about to tell me a major secret. A life changing word! I was excited to hear what it was. I felt like I was about to become a member of their all boy club; a club my brothers had always belonged to. Now for the first time, I was going to become an honorary member.
Something that puzzles me to this day, is where my brothers heard this extraordinary word. I was only six years old. There was just over a year between each of us, and my parents did not swear. So where did my brothers hear this magic word that they were about to teach me?
Okay, last time. I promise. When last we checked in with my family, you may remember, we were driving down the highway. Mom and dad in the front seat. Dad was driving, of course. Dads always drove. Patsy Cline was Crazy on the radio. My brothers and I are huddled, bored, hot, and tired in the back seat. My oldest brother tells me to open my mouth as wide as I can without showing my teeth. So, I do. I mean, I want to hear the secret word, right? So now the joke is on me as they giddily laugh, “C**ksucker!” Doubled over, hands over their mouths, they are in complete hysterics as though this is the funniest word that anyone has ever uttered. I begged them to tell me what it meant! They refused. Truth is, they likely had no more idea than I did what the incredible, magic, life changing word meant! But I didn’t know that. This was when they made their crucial mistake. After all the talk and promise to let me in on their secret word – they refuse to spill the beans. They left me with no alternative. Without the hindrance of a seatbelt, there was nothing and no time to stop me.
“Mom,” I said, leaning over the seat between her and dad, and raising my voice to be heard over Patsy Cline, “what’s a c**ksucker?”, I yelled. I never stood a chance. How could I? I never expected it or saw it coming.
WHACK! Right across the mouth.
“Ricky and Timmy called me one!” I cried, in self defense.
Screeeeeech! Screeeeeeech! Never had a car pulled over and stopped so fast in the history of cars! Thum thump! Thum Thump! Car doors open and close as Ricky and Timmy are hauled out of the car.
Like I said, it was the sixties. I feel quite confident that had any passing motorists stopped to ask my dad why he was giving my brothers a licking, they’d have felt the punishment was justifiable. As for me? I quite enjoyed the preferential treatment (new colouring books) I received for the rest of the drive to our destination. As for my brothers? Not so much.


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