Tag Archives: swearing

The Sentence

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The clanging sound of the cutlery drawer opening at speed was one of pending doom.

It’s fair to say I swear a lot. I could blame our working-class upbringing, but my parents did more than enough to discourage our potty mouths.

When we were little, any foul language was met with audio/visual threats. For example, Dad would respond to rude words by lighting a match and yelling “I’ll burn your tongue!” This usually did the job; as did the slightly less menacing promise of a thorough oral cleansing, dramatically emphasised with a bar of Velvet soap held up to our faces.

As we grew the threats were occasionally replaced by actual punishment at the hands of my mother who’d use the nearest kitchen utensil to administer swift and lethal justice. In our house, the clanging sound of the cutlery drawer opening at speed was one of pending doom. This served as a deterrent that worked for the most part, but occasionally the odd snippet of filth would slip through our careless lips, earning Mum’s wrath.

My most memorable effort is still discussed at family gatherings – for both the degree of foul language used by a 9 year-old boy, and the resulting violence used against a 9 year-old boy.

I’m not sure what made me call my older brother Anton a “cocksucker” or how I even knew such a word existed. But I used that very phrase one Saturday morning in his bedroom. No doubt my dummy spit was one of frustration born by the continued oppression a younger sibling must endure, but I could have found a less offensive way to express it. And I also could have expressed it more than metre away from my mother who handed out her rapid-fire summary justice before I managed to utter the third syllable.

As was often the case Mum’s retribution was ironically accompanied by a tirade of swearing that put anything I said in the shade.

The assault over, I maintained as much dignity as I could muster and responded in the only way a little brother can when punished for using grown up vulgarity. The smug look on Anton’s 13-year-old face turned to horror as he realised what I was about to say: a sentence that is one of the strongest tools in the battered younger sibling’s meagre arsenal.

“Anton taught me how to say that!”

Boom! He copped it good the poor bastard. I never did recall him teaching me that.

The Sentence served me well over the years and would always ensure that he copped the same if not harder than I did whenever I used language unbecoming of a child. Like the time in the kitchen when I called him a poofter. By then I learned to yell out “Anton taught me how to say that” before I got hit, meaning he’d cop the wooden spoon and I’d escape without a finger being laid on me.

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Out foxed

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The Sweet's Fox on the Run very nearly killed my brother.

One weekend my brother and I were on the couch just chilling out. Anton was singing the Sweet’s Fox on the Run with the appropriate emphasis on Fox so it sounded like “Faaaarx on the Run … “.

Our little sister Charlene, who was six at the time and excelled at dobbing, yelled out “Mum, Anton said fuck!” and within seconds he was getting several layers of shit smacked out of him. Mum must have travelled through three walls to get from the girls’ bedroom to the living room in the 3.3 seconds it took to arrive on the scene to hand out justice.

It went like this (in about the same time it takes to read it):

Faaarx on the Run

“Mum, Anton said fuck!”

“Huq, you fucken rude bastard”

Aaaaaargh! Nooo! Ouch!

Ha ha ha (me laughing)

I sat on the couch transfixed in equal measures of amusement, awe and horror. I instantly rose to the defence of my hapless brother. Not because I felt sorry for him, but because I was worried that this crazy woman could turn on me. I calmly explained that Anton said fox as in Fox on the Run, but she was gone and laying into Charlene for swearing and dobbing before I could finish my explanation.

Ironically mum hated it when we dobbed.

On Mum’s Secret Service

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One of the coolest things I made was an FM bug.

When I was about 15, I found a new hobby making things with electronic kits that required soldering components like resistors and transistors onto printed circuit boards. One of the coolest things I made was an FM bug. This crude spy device had a little microphone which can be picked up from another room using a radio tuned to around 83 on the FM dial. One day after school I hid it in my sisters’ room and sat at the kitchen table listening to them talking on my ghetto blaster.

Mum asked what I was listening to and I told her it was Michelle and Charlene. Intrigued, she sat down only to hear Charlene swearing in Maltese. In a flash she was gone. One second my mother was with me, the next I could hear her dishing out carnage through my radio.

Remember that movie Who Dares Wins about the British SAS attack on the Iranian Embassy siege in London? What happened to my sisters reminds of the scene where the terrorists are chatting away totally oblivious to the fact that commandos were about to burst through a wall and shoot them through the head. My sisters could not have been prepared for mum to come bursting through the door to hand out the bollocking they copped.

For my efforts I copped a smack across the back of the head for spying on my sisters – even the SAS thank their intelligence people.