When we were younger, pre-teens, we were not allowed to curse. My parents rarely swore or used any type of bad language. I should say my dad rarely swore or used bad language. My mother, on the other hand, would use shit, damn, hell and bitch, but always in context and most likely due to one of us kids driving her crazy. She usually cursed towards the end of the day when her patience would be running out. Here are some examples.
Kid: Mom? Michael stuck a quarter up his nose and we can’t get it out.
Kid: Mom? I think you left the spaghetti on the stove too long. It is bubbling all over the place.
Mom: Damn it.
Kid: Mom? I think we broke Bobby’s (my best friend and the kid across the street) collarbone.
Mom: Aw Hell. I will call Midge.
Kid: Mom? Michael stuck his head in the radiator and he can’t get it out.
Mom: Son of a bitch. He will have to wait until his father gets home.
There was one swear word she would use if she was really, really mad and it was usually only uttered if someone spilled their milk at the dinner table. Spilling a drink at the dinner table was one of worst crimes we could commit. It drove my mother batty.
Kid: (Knocks over glass)
My parent’s rarely fought in front of us as well. Sure they would get mad at each other but most arguments, if there was an argument, happened behind closed doors. Out of the earshot of the kids. As we all grew and entered our teenage years we could get away with a few four letter words as long as they were not directed towards another sibling. Any curses spoken to or about another sibling that was overheard by my mom resulted in our mouths being washed out with soap. Also, as we were all mostly in our teenage years my parents became a little more relaxed about their arguing in front of us.
I remember the first time I saw my mom directed a middle finger gesture to my dad in front of me. I was about 16 and I was shocked. I asked her why it was okay for her to flip the bird to my dad when if I did it I would get a bar of Irish Spring as a snack. My mom’s response was quick.
“I wasn’t giving him the finger. I was telling him I think he is Number One.”
Calling someone Number One is now sort of a term of endearment for me. If someone has a smart-ass comment with me, if someone is busting my stones, or if I am having a playful argument I usually call that person Number One.
"Hey Uncle LawnWhisperer, I think you are Number One."