April 26, 2010

Confessions of a Potty Mouth

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I will not lie to you. I have the mouth of a sailor, more or less. Now, I’m not saying that my cup runneth over with motorcycle-machismo levels of badass. But, I mean, let’s be serious. I’m pretty darn close.

The weird thing is, if you introduce me to your grandma, I can basically give the Stepford wives a run for their money. I’ll fold my hands on my Lilly Pulitzer decked-out lap, adjust my pearl necklace and smile a cheeky, but honest, smile.

Conversely, catch me in the 15 minutes after a bad exam grade and I’ll teach you  a few SAT words you didn’t even know existed.

I guess it really started for me in kindergarten. I went to a really progressive (read: sheltered as fucus) lower school.

So while I was encouraged to explore my educational potential, I was also discouraged from doing anything that could potentially help me survive the real world (or make it alive in 5th grade.)

Needless to say, I was sitting at the round table, drinking soup from my Thermos and generally minding my own kindergarten business, when suddenly Rachel Patel passes me a note.

Now, this was a big deal for two reasons. One, we’re in kindergarten and she can write. (!!!) And two, Rachel Patel was SO FREAKING COOL!

Seriously, she was like the equivalent of that one sorority girl that “knows” (read: has slept with) everyone in FIJI. Only, you know, in kindergarten terms.

So I opened the note. It read three simple words: “Scream this — fuck.”

I furrowed my four-year-old brow and tried to spell it out it my head.


Once I was confident in my pronunciation, well…


I wish I could have said I learned my lesson. But, seriously, who really pays attention to traumatic kindergarten experiences anyway.

So fast-forward to seventh grade. I was sitting in my math class, working really hard on a pre-algebra problem.

Let me put it this way: Math and I don’t get along. I have never taken — and never plan to take — calculus. I dropped The Art of Secret Writing because the high school junior taking it over the summer with me was getting better grades.

So of course, tensions were high. I finally finished the problem for the 5,000,320th time, double-checked my answer with the book and … it … was … wrong?


“What did you say, Cristina?”

Oh man. Now, I know what you’re thinking, and I agree: I’m pretty sure “darn it” isn’t a curse. Well, “darn it” isn’t what I got in trouble for.

You see, from 5th grade to senior year, I went to an Episcopalian school. I went to the church attached to that school. My dad and his siblings all went to that school. My aunt sat on the Board of Trustees at that school. I sort of had a tough time being invisible.

And my math teacher knew it.

So imagine me sitting in the principal’s office (the principal, of course, also being an ordained priest,) trying to explain that saying “Jesus Christ” was not necessarily taking the Lord’s name in vain more than it was … exalting it in frustration.

I got a fate worse than detention; I got sent to the guidance counselor. And you know what she suggested to me?

“Maybe you should try saying things like, ‘Jeepers Creepers!’ instead of actual curse words.”

Now there’s an idea…

I tried peppering my language with words like, “Sugar! Fudge! Baloney Sandwich!” People just looked at me like I was a chef gone mad.

So, basically, what it’s come down to is that, for the past million years or so, I have devoted my New Year’s resolution, Lent resolution and basically every other mandated resolution period you can think of to giving up cursing.

I mean, it’s been that, or giving up vices I don’t really have (heroin and pica are a few of my favorites).

Needless to say, Lent is over, New Year’s is really, really over and I’m still letting the nastiness slip at about the same rate as my conjunction junctions.

But that doesn’t mean I haven’t stopped trying! I mean, I’m pretty sure this article only has one — okay, maybe two — curse words in it. So that’s a pretty good thing, right?

No, you know what kids? I think I’m doomed. I mean, let’s face it.

You know how in those diet commercials, there is always that one lady that says, “I have tried everything on the market and nothing works!”

Yeah, I’m that lady. Ah well. As long as I can shut my lips long enough to meet my future fiancee’s granny and not give her a heart attack, I think I’ll be okay. For the most part, anyways…

Original Author: Cristina Stiller