Turning expletives into pig latin-esque gibberish is funny for a while, but it’s not a long-term solution, unless I want to raise Sam to believe that “Ouchebag Day” is some kind of national celebration. So the only option, aside from not cursing at all, which isn’t realistically on the table, is to come up with alternative words that will convey dismay without raising any flags at Child Services. The Internet, naturally, has a number of ideas, most of which sound like something a toothless hillbilly might exclaim upon crawling out from under a rock in a Geico commercial: “Dadgummit! Son of a bucket! Judas Priest!”
Everyone’s favorite adorable diet curse seems to be “fudge,” but I can’t bring myself to use it when only the real thing will do. Fudge is the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter of obscenities, and tastes just as synthetic on the lips.
So what’s a hopeless vulgarian to do? My only strategy, I think, is to hide in plain sight. Much like my drinking, nudity and late-night Netflix abuse, I will have to reserve four-letter fulminations for times when my child is absent or unconscious and thus shielded from my Tourette’s-like outbursts. My neighbors might wonder why I gleefully sing a string of swear words to the tune of “Hava Nagila” while vacuuming, but that’s better than the alternative, right?
By day is another story. Just this weekend, I ran into trouble when I attempted to carry the stroller up a steep set of subway stairs, every elbow jab from unsympathetic passersby sending me into paroxysms of silent profanity.
“Don’t worry, baby,” I grunted. “People are just—” ignorant fucknuts! “—in a hurry. And the stroller is being—” a fucking asshole! “—a little finicky.” I reached the top of the stairs and smiled down at him beatifically, wanting to throw my hat up in the air Mary Tyler Moore-style.
“Ah-hole,” he cooed.
Oh, God. I thought. He’s right. I am an asshole. I’ve already corrupted him at 18 months. I’ll just have to start fresh with the next kid, because this one is ruined. Shit. Shitshitshit!
And then … I remembered the Granny Smith he’d been gnawing on the train.
“Is this what you want?” I asked hopefully, brandishing his snack.
“AH-HOLE!” he cried happily.
Oh, thank goodness! His innocence is still intact.
What a rucking felief.
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