Since day one when Max, my now two-year-old, was born I knew I needed to start watching my language. I swear…a lot. It comes from years of working in the film industry where we all act like full-grown children and shout at each other through walkie-talkies, then laugh about it over beers at the end of the day. That said, going cold turkey from swearing is like quitting smoking…its hard! When I quit smoking back in 2007 I ate a lot of candy, took up cigars briefly, and joined a gym to occupy my mind. Six years later? I still crave those death-sticks every day even though they’ve killed off every ancestor of mine. So when Max was born on January 26th, 2011 it is understandable that my quitting swearing didn’t work.
At first I tried pure cold turkey which if you swear as much as I do…that’s like taking heroin away from a junkie. I was all happy and stuff the first few days and saying crap like, “Oh sugar!” Or the classic, “Shut the fffff…ront door!” Then I became a secret swearer and started swearing behind Max’s back, in dark hallways, and into my pillow at night. On the outside I was a happy daddy with happy words…inside I was a swear-word factory with a warehouse overfilled with inventory just waiting for a reason to open the doors. Then…I went all Gina Davis in The Long Kiss Goodnight. To quote Samuel Jackson in the movie, “You know, back when we first met, you were all like ‘Oh phooey, I burned the darn muffins.’ Now, you go into a bar and ten minutes later sailors come runnin’ out. What up with that?” The inventory was spilling out the doors and I was saying swear words I never even knew my mind could conjure! There were classics mixed with disgusting things, guttural sounds, and new ones that globbed words together into terrible sounding offensive language. I wasn’t just swearing…I was swearing better. If swearing was a job…I made it a career and became the CEO. Things eventually ebbed, I got my senses back, and the swearing went away…at least around Max.
Then, last night, my two-year-old sponge of a son stubbed his toe while playing with his cars and said, “dammit!” Kate and I both knew we had instantly failed the good-parent-test as we both love that word. Kate went to Max and said, “Buddy, that’s a no-no word. It’s no, no, no! Say you’re sorry.” Max replied, “Sorry Mommy…that’s a no-no word, dammit is Daddy’s word.” Whoa!!! Don’t you put that evil on me, Ricky Bobby! I jumped in and added, “No, no, no…that isn’t Daddy’s word…its a no-no word.” He apologized, left the room, and Kate and I snickered quietly appreciating the hilarity of the situation as well as the gravity of it. It’s not cool that Max is swearing…just slightly funny. “Apparently I need to watch my language more,” I said to Kate. “Apparently so,” she replied, “That’s Daddy’s word.”
This morning I resolved to watch my language more and remember that I’m going to have two sponges living in my house so I need to be extra careful about what I say. Max woke up, climbed into bed with me, and gave me a hug and kiss good morning. I got up to start my day and he toddled off to play with toys in his room…then there was a sound of something dropping…then I heard my son’s tiny voice say, “fucking shit.”
Okay…now I have failed the good-parent-test.
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