Monday, September 18, 2006

Wash my mouth out with soap...

Once upon a time, in a land far away, on the internet, I directed the following 'flame' at a long-forgotten opponent, in a long-forgotten argument having something to do with insects:

So tell us, o entymylogically(sp?) wise one, what the fuck does this have to do with the original post? Since you're obviously some kind of mutated cockroach, you've got nothing to win or lose, although it appears as if you've lost your antenae for common sense. Go back to the garbage heap you worhtless shit gulping less than a maggot brained wart on a shit infested ant's ass. While you're at it- fuck off.

I don't have much to say for myself, except that in those days the internet was, for me, one long flame war. In the years since writing the above, aside from learning how to spell 'entomologically', I've learned to, shall we say, control my tongue (if not my temper) a bit more. Cursing and swearing and snide comments, after all, tend to lose their appeal when the potential target (in my case Japanese-speaking people) is not likely to understand what you're talking about. Of course, as any of my ex-pat drinking buddies could tell you, I can still peel the paint off buildings with just a few choice words when the mood hits. Generally speaking, though, I'm a much mellower guy than the lout that wrote the words above, which leads me to something that happened this morning...

Like most English-speaking guys (at least the ones I know and associate with!), it's fairly common for me to use the words 'fuck' and 'shit' as exclamatory statements: "oh, for fuck sake!", "fuck it!", "fuck, yeah!", "ahh, shit!", and "holy shit!" being but a few examples. This morning, I was making coffee in the kitchen. I thought I was alone. One of the things I hate about Japan is that it sometimes seems as though all of the interior designers here are thinking about dwarves or people who never have to stand up living in their creations... Anyway, I'm in the kitchen making coffee and I think I'm alone, when suddenly I give my head its daily bash, this time into the corner of an overhead cupboard. Fuck, did it hurt! "Fuuck!!", I yelled. And then my daughter walked around the corner and said, "nande 'fuck', Daddy?" As much as my head hurt, I felt a bit ashamed.

Nande means 'why', so my daughter was asking me why I said 'fuck'. She didn't say, "'fuck' nan desu ka?" ("what is 'fuck'?" or "what does 'fuck' mean?"). I'm fairly certain that my 3-year old doesn't know the meaning of 'fuck'. But by asking me why I said 'fuck' she showed a pretty good understanding of one of the word's functions in English. She heard me say 'fuck'. She saw me holding my head in pain. If she could say it in English, she would have said "what happened?". Barring that, she wondered what made me say 'fuck'. Clearly she's heard me say it before...

I'm a rotten father, doomed to spending the rest of his days in fear. Fear that one day, sooner or later, my little girl will, in the presence of her mother--my wife, fall down, or bump her head, or drop her ice cream, and at that fateful moment she'll scream the dreaded word. And I'll be fucked...


  1. Salamat
    hahaha...sorry this is a hilarious post.

    Thank God my son is not at that questioning/reasoning stage...but what freaks me out is how much he observes and imitates! even at his age...

    it really forces us to mind our p's and q's.


    she sounds like a sweety pie.

  2. If you haven't seen A Christmas Story, you probably should.

  3. Maliha: Nothing escapes the notice of small children, I'm convinced of this.

    Eli: You're being cryptic--I haven't seen the movie, although a quick search revealed a scene where a kid says the 'f' word in fron of his father (with no other info)...

  4. I once brought shame and degradation upon my parents by unwittingly choosing a friend's 6th birthday party for the first time I ever used the "f" word. Hence

    (Mother of the birthday boy) - "Are you enjoying school, Michael?"
    (Me) - "Fuck off! It's really boring!"

    Obviously, I thought "Fuck off" just meant "no way" - but I can still see the woman's face drop to this day. My parents' dinner invites dropped dramatically in the following months. So beware.

    The Irish "feck" is a good alternative, as evidenced in classic comedy "Father Ted".

  5. How funny! What a sweetheart.

    I grew up around a habitual curser (my mom) and the result is that I almost never do it myself. I don't know why... it just doesn't feel natural.


  6. Sorry about taking so long to reply to comments...

    Shit: That's a great example of what I was talking about. Did it really affect your parents' social life? (Now I'm really worried...)

    emarie: I envy you because my tendency to swear when I feel strongly about something often drowns out anything intelligent I might actually have to say.

  7. It didn't really affect my parents' social life as my father is a major misanthrope (as am I). But considering we lived in the tiny, gossip-mungous town of Ipswich at the time, any parent of mine with ambitions to become mayor of the city might have been seriously stymied by my prodigious rudeness. But this was 25 years ago.

    In the UK these days, pretty much anything goes as regards potty-mouth; what's it like in Japan?

  8. I've seen dictionaries of Japanese slang and swear words/phrases but I've never actually heard anyone utter any of it. Here's one useful word, however, and it's easy to remember: aho (a-ho) has about the same function in Japanese as "asshole", with the added bonus of sounding almost the same...

  9. This happened to me the other day. I hurt my finger, saud "fuck!", and my two year old daughter happily spent the next ten minutes dancing around singing "fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!".
    I wasn't sure whether to laugh or I did both.

  10. Yeah, I can certainly understand that impulse!
    Thanks for dropping by!