I remember the days when my kids were little. The "b" word was butt, the "s" word was shut up and the "f" word was fart.
Man, I miss those days.
Cussing. I really, really hate it. Always have. I think it's irreverent, degrading and cheap. I think it makes a man look weak and a woman look trashy.
Aren't you glad you asked me how I really feel?
There was a group of kids that hung around the entrance to our Safeway store. They dressed in black, smoked cigarettes and cussed. They were scary and everybody I knew hated walking through them just to buy groceries. Lots of folks would go to a different store to avoid them, including my 17 year old daughter. I didn't blame them, but it sure was inconvenient.
I had complained several times to the management, but they said the cops were tired of coming around and unless this group of kids did more than loiter, they wouldn't come back. I guess I can understand that from the cops' perspective. It just seemed like the store should do something since it was their property and their business. Ever heard of private security, Safeway?
Anyway...I'm not sure what the catalyst was, but one night I had just had enough.
I was braver back then.
I stormed into the group of kids and told them I did not appreciate their language. There were little kids and older people within earshot of their filth every day. Besides, a lot of other people - including me - just didn't like it. I told them I suspected their mothers probably taught them better and they should be ashamed of themselves.
I went into the store and immediately started shaking. Was I nuts?? A sane person would have told them off right before she got into her car and drove away, not before she intended to shop for 45 minutes. That gave them all kinds of time to plan my demise.
I exited the store with trepidation. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I hoped if they planned to kill me it would be quick. I didn't want to feel any pain. And I was glad I had recently purchased life insurance.
Sure enough, three kids broke off from the pack and followed me to my car. "Ma'am?" the ringleader said.
I hate it when people call me ma'am. But considering the words I had heard out of the mouths of these kids, ma'am seemed like a step in the right direction.
I turned around and faced them. "Yes?"
"We would like to apologize. You're right; our mothers did teach us better than this...at least mine did. I'm really sorry."
We stood there for 30 minutes and had a nice chat. I was able to to admire their tatoos and piercings up close. And I'm pretty sure my ice cream melted.
So, if that was your kid, thank you for teaching him better.
You may be surprised, but he really was listening.