When I look at at my vices, of which there are many, and consider trying to conquer some of them, it’s daunting, to say the least. Many of them would be difficult to quit. Coffee, smoking, drinking, betting on horses, betting on dogs, betting on finches, prank phone calls, or emailing anonymous threats to the cast of How I Met Your Mother, for example. Others would be downright impossible to curtail. Opium, daily Greek pizzas, auto-erotic asphyxiation, peeping tommery, sleight of hand or whaling. But there are a few, were I to put my oxygen-deprived mind to it, that I think I might be able to get under control. After some careful scrutiny, I decided that one foible I might be able to correct with relative ease would be swearing.
Now, I swear a lot. The way I’ve always seen it, anything worth being said is worth being said with a splash of profanity. In fact, I really don’t take a person seriously if their speech isn’t riddled with expletives. Whether casual conversation or business power-speak, pickup line or post-coital cooing, wedding toast or eulogy, there’s always a place for the curse. Sadly, it seems that times are changing. After a string of unsuccessful dates, awkward business meetings, and some intense introspection, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time to change my ways on this one. (The constant spray paint huffing during the dates may have been a contributing factor as well, but one step at a time, right?)
So I decided to see if I could go one day without swearing. I figured if I could do that, I could beat swearing once and for all.
I started my day as I start most days: screaming at my alarm clock. Normally, I’d be screaming obscenities, today I managed to just hurl some unintelligible nonsense at the darned thing, and swung around until I connected with the snooze button. After some more grappling with the alarm clock, I managed to drag my sorry rear out of bed, but by this point I was running half an hour late for work. Fudge. I had a quick shower that was cold as all get out, and had to force down some burnt toast with nothing on it, because I was all out of crunchy gol durned peanut butter.
Then, wouldn’t you know it, I missed the monstertrucking bus by, like, ten seconds. That hooplehead bus driver totally saw me running, and didn’t stop, just to be a jerk, I just know it. He’s had a real problem with me ever since I called him a Grade A sphincter sucker that time when he splashed me with a puddle. (I didn’t actually call him that exactly, but I’m not swearing today, remember? Keep up.) Anyway, I caught the next bus and made it to work, even later than I already was, thanks to that verkakte bus driver. The boss didn’t quite see it my way, though. He didn’t really care to hear about the ongoing feud between us. He said he didn’t give two shiksas why I was late, but if it happened again I’d be out on my buttocks. That lousy flim-flammer.
Sweet Hannah in a handbasket, that piece of toast sans crunchy peanut butter didn’t do much to tide me over until lunch. By 11 o’clock my stomach was rumbling like a shrimp boat. It felt like noon would never come. If only I’d had some shrimp. As soon as that Rickenbackin’ clock hit 12, I made a mad dash for the McDonalds down the block to buy a shipload of McDoubles. I felt like I could eat a dozen. I settled for four, in the end.
As luck would have it, those hot gosh McDoubles didn’t sit well. The last hour of my workday was spent mostly in the toilet, with a debilitating case of the shoots. That didn’t sit very pretty with my boss, who was already pretty miffed about me being late. At the end of the day, he called me into his office and told me he had to let me go permanently, the mook. It wasn’t just my being late that day and the hour in the john, he said, but an ongoing problem with attitude and language. That rotten cur didn’t even notice that I hadn’t swore at him once the whole day.
Sweet city woman, what a crummy day! To top everything off, I stubbed my toe, got a paper cut, and spilled grape juice all over my new shirt. Plus, when I was taking out the garbage, this group of kids challenged me to a swearing contest– whoever could say the most swears in thirty seconds wins –and when I politely declined they called me names and started throwing rocks at me. One of them hit me in the back of the knee with a whole brick. Whatever though, I made it all the way through. I can be proud of this accomplishment, maybe even see it as a glimmer of hope. I may soon be able to triumph over other vices! Perhaps one day I’ll be vice free, and live like a fucking superman. Whoops, shit! Ah, cunt!