"From the Desert to the Sea, to All of Southern California." - Jerry Dunphy

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

The F Bomb

NASA has its countdown before it launches a rocket and Moms have their countdown before they launch as well and it goes like this: 1 – 2 – 3. If she reaches 3 and you haven’t run, surrendered or fallen to your knees to beg forgiveness, you are in for the ride of your life. As I child I don’t remember pushing my Mom to shout the dreaded “3” but I’m sure I must have. I do remember constantly disregarding the infamous pre-launch Mom warning called, PDQ (Pretty damn quick). “Stop trying to shave the cat with your Dad’s electric shaver, PDQ", mom would yell. She left with the razor and I found more mischief to entertain myself with, while forgetting that you never receive two PDQ’s in a row. If she came back and found me messing up again, out came the big guns of 1-2-3!

So you ask what happened to me afterwards. I remember becoming very acquainted with every corner of our house or apartment. Sometimes I was sent to my room to contemplate my unsocial deeds. My Dad later questioned the effectiveness of this method by asking where’s the punishment in sending him to his room where he has a TV, a stereo, books and all his stuff.

One eventful day at grammar school I was introduced to the infamous F bomb by a fellow classmate. Naturally he failed to explain that the words meaning was bereft of subtle nuances. As I walked home down Sherman Way I kept repeating the word to myself. When I encountered someone I spoke the word out loud to them. Based on the looks I received I knew I was onto something. Here was a secret word that could startle adults and disfigure their faces. In the door of our apartment I walked, confident I possessed some powerful kid secret to use on adults. I walked over to my parakeet “Cookie” who sat on the venation blinds watching for me to come home. I picked him up and put him back on his cage. I heard Mom enter the room behind me so I turned toward her and launched the F bomb at- her. Like a Saturday morning cartoon her eyes shot 3 feet out of her head as she grabbed my arm and dragged me into the bathroom. I was stunned. I had no warning, I heard no PDQ or 1-2-3. To use another cartoon analogy it was like a Dennis the Menace cartoon where you see symbols and signs above his head, an indication of total confusion and chaos. The next thing I was aware of was the taste of Lava soap in my mouth and Mom’s words ringing in my ears, “don’t you ever say that again, do you hear me?” A nod of the head is all I could muster since I couldn’t hear anymore and had a mouth is full of the best and most corrosive hand cleaner on the planet, Lava soap! I survived the afternoon and we had a tense family discussion at the dinner table about bad words you should never speak as a child in private or public. To this day I still remember saying to my parents, “Ok but I can’t stop thinking about it.”

When I told my Phone Rat about this post he added the caveat that Dads never count to 3. I agreed and said that's a whole other post.

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