American Vernacular: The series…of cuss words

My father was a gifted and creative man. Gifted with a dark, twisted sarcasm that he wore like a skin and creative in that he could take his immediate and oft frustration and turn it into a jaw-dropping, laugh inducing, Mama cover my ears soliloquy. Yes, these utterances were blue or adult-themed but I cannot remember him ever utilizing an F-bomb to make his point but I do remember a 5 minute monologue delivered to my siblings and I, raving about the miracle of science and the magic of plumbing and how astonishingly simple it was to flush a toilet. I recall the phrase, “beating myself in the head with a hammer made of alcohol”, which became his prophecy and a warning to me. And I’ll never forget his Carpe Diem Opus, “This is a table, this is a lunchbox and that is the front door. Don’t let it hit you in the ass on the way out and if you ever need a hand, don’t be afraid to look at the end of your wrist.”

He weaved tales of the feared Crocagator, the meanest animal on the planet, beset with the head of a crocodile on one end and the head of an alligator on the other. When asked how this beast shat, the answer was, “He doesn’t. That’s what makes him so mean.”

A declarative statement would be prefaced with, “By the 24 balls of the 12 apostles…”

A physical mistake would be matched with, “Do you know any tricks that work…”

Somebody with questionable intelligence had “all the brains of a bastard goose.”

When he was behind the wheel he was a man without peer for he invented road rage, long before it ever had a name.  My father has long passed but his verbal legacy lives on. I contend that these phrases, utterances, quips, rants, bon mots are a direct link to all of our personal histories. I would love to hear your own family’s Throat of Arms. I invite you to jot down some of the sayings you heard growing up. It by no means defines you but it certainly adds color to the canvas.

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