For instance, he was a nazi when it came to the kids uttering words relating to body functions, the ones he did not want them to shout with joyous rapture in front of their grandmother. Yes, we had agreed to clean up our own language when our first child was born. And we did a pretty good job.
Mr. Fountain was the first of us busted muttering at a woman who pulled out in front of him. Small children, especially a cute curly-haired boy in a car-seat way in the back of the family-mobile, have exceptional hearing and pick up on phrases faster than a mockingbird. Maybe that’s why he got tough on “bad talkin’”.
You might be surprised to learn that, evidently, many parents do not censor themselves around their children. Or maybe older siblings are responsible. Regardless, once kids start pre-school or go to mothers-day-out or even vacation bible school, they hear new words. And the first time some kid gets in trouble for saying a certain word, that collection of sounds is seared into their hungry brain. The word is cradled in grubby hands like a grasshopper, waiting for the opportunity to throw at some un-expectant face. That’s just the way it is.
Mr. Fountain’s admonition: “No bad talkin’” became well known and the source of much amusement among both our kids and their friends. ‘Toot’ and ‘poot’ were tolerated. But poor old ‘fart’ got the stink eye.
The “F” word at my house was ‘fart’. Every time a kid said it, “No bad talkin’” rang out from the other room. The guy was like a parrot some days. It got to the point that the kids would chime in on the predictable response. It became a joke to the kids, but Mr. Fountain remained soberly vigilant.
Too bad I didn’t know the words ‘collywobbles’ and ‘borborygmus’ back then. The first refers to intestinal disturbances (as well as feeling fear or apprehension, just so you know). The latter, more difficult to wrap your vocal apparatus around (bor-buh-rig-mus) is a gurgling or rumbling caused by the movement of gas in the intestines. Neither quite the same as fart, but much more entertaining. And saying the aloud wouldn’t get you in trouble because very few people know what the words mean. Or even that they exist. I’m fairly certain Mr. Fountain does not.
But then, where’s the fun in that?
(I ♥ words.)