[dropcap]O[/dropcap]nce, when my sister was four, I resolved to teach her how to swear like a commercial fisherman. As a boy, I believed cursing to be a healthy habit, capable of relieving aches and pains. Especially when actuated directly following injury, shocking news, or home runs.
Sarah learned how to swear like a competent ten-year-old boy, and I would parade her talents in front of my scrubby friends for entertainment. I’d start with a joke:
“Sarah,” I would ask. “Why did the chicken cross the road?
“To get to the other bleeping side.”
My friends would howl, and I would hush them.
“Knock knock, Sarah.”
“Who the bleep is there?”
“Shut the bleep up,” she’d say. “Opportunity don’t knock twice.”
My friends would be rolling on the grass by then.
You think that’s funny? That’s nothing. It gets better.
One morning, my mother asked us what we wanted for breakfast. My four-year-old sister raised her hands in the air, smiled, and said, “Bleeping pancakes!”
My mother’s mouth gaped open.
“What did you say young lady?”
“Pan-bleeping-cakes! With a bleep-load of syurp!”
The holy fire of God consumed my mother. She tanned Sarah’s rear with a hairbrush, and sentenced Sarah to mourn the loss of her infantile innocence.
When my Mother returned to the kitchen, she took a deep breath, and smoothed her hair. “Okay, now, what do you want for breakfast?”
“Well,” I said. “You can bet your ass I don’t want no damn pancakes.”