This is the second post of my Tragic Stories series, in which I tell true stories from my childhood for your amusement. I’m trying to get all the early childhood stuff out of the way so we could get to the all the interesting and more serious middle school shenanigans soon.
This may surprise you all, but I curse a lot. I curse so much that it would make an old man take off his hat, shake his head and say, “That kid’s sure got a mouth on him.”
Okay, so maybe it wouldn’t, because I rarely ever swear with adults in the room (respect your elders and whatnot), but with fellow teens it’s a bit different. In fact, here’s how a friend and I greeted each other the other day in the hall, as we walked by each other.
“What’s up, Fuckboy.”
We were immediately taken down to the principal’s office, and when the hall monitor explained what she heard the principal just threw his hands up and gave a sad sigh of defeat. “Why?” he asked us. “Why would you feel the need to say something like that to each other?”
But it wasn’t alway like that, no sirree. There once was a time where just the mere utterance of a bad word was enough to make me gasp. I remember reading the word “ass” in the dictionary and giggling. (It said “ass!” Hilarious!) and I remember hearing the same word in an episode of The Simpsons and immediately turning the channel to watch something more age-appropriate. It was around this period in my life when The Incident happened.
What was The Incident, you ask?
Well, it took place near the very end of the school day, back in first grade, or maybe it was second. I know it was in 2004 or early 2005, because that was the time 1985 by Bowling for Soup was released, and my friends and I were obsessed with that song.
(We never saw the video for it until years later though, mostly because YouTube wasn’t a thing back then.)
So I was talking amongst my group of seven year old friends when a certain word slipped out by accident. I’m not sure what exactly I was talking about, but I do know that I had meant to say the word “dance,” and instead it came out as “damn.” I know, right? Quite the scandal, if I dare say so.
My entire group of friends gasped aloud. Okay, maybe they didn’t literally gasp, but they were all shocked, and none of them were as upset as me. I was panicking. I was feeling an immense wave of guilt and a fear that I’d never felt before. I could already see the phone call home, the expulsion from school, my parents putting soap in my mouth.*
I immediately started apologizing to everyone, explaining the mistake. It’s amusing for me to say that they were all actually scared for me as well. They were genuinely concerned for what would happen to me.
A girl nearby (let’s call her Taylor) asked another girl who heard me:
“Matt just said the d word.”
“Oh my goodness,” she looked around at the teacher, who was busy grading papers or something. “Do we tell on him?”
“Please don’t,” I begged her. “It was an accident!”
Of course, Taylor did in fact tell on me, (we called her Tattletale Taylor for a reason, y’know), and I ended up having to explain to the teacher what happened, and I burst into tears about halfway through. (Spoiler alert: pretty much every story involving younger me will feature me crying for stupid reasons.)
Luckily, the teacher took pity on me and I didn’t get in any trouble whatsoever. She also gave me a hug. All in all, I’d consider that day a win.
*I’ve never actually had soap put in my mouth (if I have I’ve forgotten), but I’ve always feared the possibility.