I was reading a post by Diana the other day. One of the things I like to do, once I discover a new blog, is start reading the archives. So, as I was scrolling along the page, I found a post she wrote about her son and how he was asking her questions about what the F-word was. And suddenly I was propelled back into time and remembering my experiences with learning certain words. Let’s all give Diana props for breaking the hold the dreaded writer’s block had over me.


Picture it, if you will, a young Dana (quite adorable, if I do say myself. This was before glasses, before weight gain and when my hair was long and loved me) coming home from kindergarten one day (I was five). My mother was outside, feeding the rabbits (we raised rabbits for a little while).

DM: Mom, what does fuck mean?
M: What?
DM: What does fuck mean?
M: Where did you hear that word?
DM: At school.

I must give my mom credit. She handled this very well.

M: It’s what rabbits do when they are married.
DM: Oh (yeah, I had no clue).
M: But it’s not a nice word. So please don’t use it again.
DM: Okay.

That was it. I, of course, eventually learned what fuck meant. But did not use it much in front of my mother. Until I became a teenager and massive mood swings turned her into the enemy. Poor Mom. It’s amazing how much better our relationship became after she a) moved to Arizona and b) I went back on Effexor. Too bad my happy pills weren’t invented when I was a teenager, my life would probably been a hell of a lot better. Ah, well. Since I’m on Effexor, I don’t even care about the hell that being a teenager was.

Abandoned By the Tooth Fairy

When I lost my last tooth (Carol, I didn’t forget your question about things I believed as a child that I don’t believe now, this is actually from it. This is pretty much the only thing I don’t believe in anymore), I put it under my pillow as you are supposed to do. Now, I was pretty sure that the Tooth Fairy (Santa Claus/Easter Bunny) was Mom and/or Dad but I wasn’t sure. Because, let’s face it, parents are sneaky. They will go as long as they can to help us sustain belief in fictional characters and I, for one, love them for it.

The next morning, I woke up and lifted up my pillow, eager to see how much the Tooth Fairy had brought me. You can imagine my disappointment when there was nothing there. I went to my Mom and shared with her my tale of woe.

DM: Mom, the Tooth Fairy didn’t come last night.
M: She didn’t? That silly Tooth Fairy. I know. Why don’t you go lay back in bed and close your eyes. I’ll bet she’ll come to see you then.
DM: Okay.

I get back into bed, cover up and close my eyes. I hear some rustling in the background.

Rustle, rustle, rustle. Some more rustling.

M: Shit.

My pillow lifts up. My pillow is set down. A few seconds pass.

M: Dana! I think the Tooth Fairy came! Let’s check!

I lift up my pillow. There is, instead of the usual shiny two or three quarters, a shiny five dollar bill. Huh. Well, that’s not normal. Gee, I wonder if Mom didn’t have any quarters or even dollar bills. Well, I’m not going to complain. What, you think I’m stupid? Don’t answer that.

Why, Grandma, what a big potty mouth you have

So Kari and I are over at Grandma’s. This, obviously, was before she died. I think I was about 11 and Kari was 9. Mom had to borrow Grandma’s car so there was Grandma, trapped visiting with her hellion lovely grandchildren (thank you Johnny for showing me how to do this! I HEART YOU) when she discovered that she was out of cigarettes. This is not good. I don’t think there was a convenience store anywhere near her house at the time and she didn’t want to drag us out walking a couple of miles.

So she started scouring the house, looking for an ashtray that might possibly have a cigarette butt in it long enough for her to get a few hits of precious, precious nicotine. We followed her from room to room. Unfortunately, Grandma was a fairly clean woman and so her ashtrays pratically sparkled. I really think she cleaned them after every cigarette.

Then, a bright light bulb went off over her head! What about the basement? There were probably cigarettes down there! We scurried down the stairs quickly. Ooh, sweet nicotine was in her grasp!

Grandma is practically trembling as she walked up to the ashtray. She looks into the cavernous ashtray, nearly empty…except for one cigarette. Only smoked about halfway through. It was a wonderful bonus for this slightly stressed out lady.

She clasped the cigarette in one hand, put it into her mouth and with her shaking hands, brought the lighter to the tip of the cigarette. Just as the lighter touched the cigarette, I saw something unusual.

DM: Um, Grandma, the cigarette is…

The filter catches on fire and flares. The sickly sweet smell of a burning filter fills the room.

DM: Backwards.
G: Shit!

We then spent the next two hours watching Grandma go through nicotine withdrawal until my Mom got back. This was long before cell phones so it’s not like Grandma could have called her and asked her to bring a pack of smokes home.

The worst part about this story? There was a pack of cigarettes in the freezer the entire time. Grandma found it after she got home with her new carton.

Anyway, these are the tales of my exposure to the dreaded f and s words. What was your first swear word?