Do You Really Wanna Know (Papercuts, 2011)

aSC blog: Confessions of a Trophy DadKevin Rudge

Any similarities to actual events and persons in my family are not coincidental. This story took place on Sunday, April 17, and Tuesday, April 19, 2011.

“You fucking son-of-a-bitch.” ~ George W. Bush, yelled at a Wall Street Journal political writer in 1986

A simple rule of thumb regarding children and swearing: if you don’t want your kids to curse, don’t ask them to.

I speak from experience.

Last week, I walked in from the garage to the shrill voices of my two youngest natives; they were restless in a hopped up on Skittles kind of way.  In the few seconds it took to slip off my shoes and enter the kitchen, I gathered from their conversation with my wife Elizabeth that their excitement had something to do with Ira — my nemesis and our 5-year-old neighbor.

Lucy, my 5-year-old was the first to acknowledge my presence.

“Daddy!”

“Hey!  What’s all the excitement about?” I said.

Jessie, my 9-year-old daughter, ran toward me yelling, “Ira swore!  Ira swore!”

Ira swore? Yawn. Unfortunately, this in itself was nothing out of the ordinary; it was not the first, nor would it be the last time this cute, curly haired, year-round Croc wearing, sailor mouthed, little boy swore.

“Oh, really?  Where?”  I said, hoping the crime took place across property lines — giving me at least some jurisdiction in the matter.

“In our backyard!” Jessie said with a hint of glee in her voice.

Excellent.  Okay, then. So, what was it?  The “a” word, “s” word, “b” word? Or maybe even the queen-mother of obscenities, the “f” word; a possibility and not unprecedented.

“What did he say?”

Jessie took a deep breath and began to answer aloud, “You . . .”

Not wanting to further pique my 5-year-old’s fascination with the forbidden alphabet words, I stopped Jessie.  “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Whisper it to me.”

Jessie came closer as I bent down to allow for this very sensitive exchange. Jessie’s lips were lightly touching my ear as she whispered, “He said, ‘You. Fuck-ing. Son-of-a-bitch.’ ”

Oh Nelly! I wasn’t prepared to hear the actual words coming from Jessie’s mouth.  Where was the alphabet filter?  What happened to saying the “‘f’ word” and the “‘b’ word”?  Or, the more sophisticated and learned “f-dash-dash-dash” and “b-dash-dash-dash-dash” words.  Hell, a simple rhyme would have been perfectly acceptable as well.

“Jessie, don’t say the actual words!” I said, lightly scolding her.

“I didn’t! Ira did.”

“I know, but you repeated them.”

“No, I didn’t.”

“Yeah, you did.  You just said exactly what Ira said.”

“But, you asked me to.”

Bucking son-of-a-stitch. The kid had a point.

“Okay, I know.  But, I expected you would have said, you know, the ‘f’ word,’ or ‘b’ word, or something, without actually saying the ‘f’ word and ‘b’ word.”

“Ohhhhhh, okay,” She said smiling.  I think realizing she had just gotten away with the kid equivalent to murder.

You would think I would have learned my lesson. Fast forward approximately 48-hours . . .

Having a twenty-minute respite from having to taxi Lauren to-and-from dance, I sat at the kitchen table eating leftover Chinese.  In the family room and out of sight, but not sound, or mind, Lucy and Jessie watched the reality dance show, “Dancing with the Stars.”

Although personally not a fan, sadly, it is one of the few family oriented shows on primetime television.  So I thought, that is until I heard a female voice — Chelsea to be exact — from the show say, too loudly and clearly, “I have to go work my ASS off.”

Whoa! Holy @#%$&! Batman!

I addressed the situation swiftly and succinctly.

What?” I said.

Now, I clearly meant this “what” as a rhetorical you-know-what-I’m-talking-about-so-we-don’t-need-to-spell-it-out what.  Unfortunately, the nuance of the rhetorical question was lost upon my five-year-old.  She felt obliged to spell it out for me.

Lucy screamed, “SHE SAID ‘I HAVE TO GO WORK MY ASS OFF!’”

Damn. Okay. Yeah, I knew that. Really.

I chuckled to myself and thanked Lucy for the clarification.  I then gathered myself and in my best stern dad voice said, “You know that’s a bad word, right?”

“What’s a bad word?” she said.

“You know, the ‘a’ word.”

Ass?

Dammit, she said it again.

“Yes, and don’t say that word.”

“Okay,” Lucy said. “But you know she said ‘ass,’ not me.”

Oh boy, there’s that hairy word again.

“I know, but you just said it.” I said.

“No I didn’t.”

“Yes, you did.”

“No. I didn’t . . .”

“Okay, I know, I know, I know. Just don’t say the word she said again. It’s not an appropriate word. Got it?”

“I know Dad.”

“Good. Thank you.”

Cheese and Rice. (Jesus Christ)

Lesson learned.

“There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on  — [pauses] — shame on you. Fool me — [pauses] — you can’t get fooled again.” ~ President George W. Bush

Kevin Rudge is a stay-at-home dad of three girls and practicing trophy husband.  He lives and writes from his home in suburban Chicago.  More of his humorous observations and confessions can be found at MyDadDoesNotWork.com.

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2 Comments to “Do You Really Wanna Know (Papercuts, 2011)”

  1. I’ve been the “mom” in our marriage for some years, enjoy the column. I heard this joke recently and had a great laugh.

    One afternoon a man came home from work to find total mayhem in his house. His three children were outside, still in their pajamas, playing in the mud with empty food boxes and wrappers strewn all around the front yard.

    The door of his wife’s car was open, as was the front door to the house. Proceeding into the entry, he found an even bigger mess. A lamp had been knocked over, and the throw rug was wadded against one wall. In the front room, the TV was loudly blaring a cartoon channel, and the family room was strewn with toys and various items of clothing. In the kitchen, dishes filled the sink, breakfast food was spilled on the counter, dog food was spilled on the floor, a broken glass lay under the table, and a small pile of sand was spread by the back door.

    He ran up the stairs, stepping over toys and more piles of clothes, looking for his wife. He was worried she might be ill, or that something serious had happened. He found her lounging in the bedroom, still curled up in the bed, still in her pajamas, reading a novel.

    She looked up at him, smiled, and asked how his day went.

    He looked at her bewildered and asked, “What happened here today?”

    She again smiled and answered, “You know every day when you come home from work and ask me what in the world I did today?”

    “Yes,” was his incredulous reply, half shouting.

    The smile remained, “Well, today I didn’t do it.”

  2. Nice John! You know, that may be a fun experiment: inform the kids that we are celebrating “Kids Day” — on this day they can do, say, and eat whatever they want, whenever they want, for the entire day. Of course, with the understanding they have to cleanup the next day, and we would probably have to establish a few ground rules. Might make for a good story! (BTW, congratulations on your “mom” job. Although I know it’s not for everyone and for every family, I tell everyone I meet “it’s a great gig, if you can get it.”)

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