Hi, my name is Bruce and I have a potty mouth. I’ve had a potty mouth as far back as I can remember. When I was about 12 and my recently separated mother was dating a douchebag who tried to tell me what to do, I turned to him calmly and said, “Fuck off, Tom.” As I recall, he was a military guy whose own children were expected to say yes sir, no sir, or no excuse sir. Soooo, this didn’t go over to well. When I was in second grade, we got a substitute teacher named Mrs. Funk, who wrote her name on the board so the cute little boys and girls would remember it. Well, during recess, Ronnie Hattin and I snuck back into the classroom and made a one-letter change to her name on the board. I swear it was Ronnie’s idea.
I think my mother reads my blog so she can opine directly, but I think my parents decided that there were bigger battles to fight with kids than linguistic or follicular ones. Hence, I had hair down to my shoulders and said “fuck” a lot as a kid. Sadly, the hair Gods got me so the shoulder length hair is no longer an option, lest I want to look like this.
I honestly don’t remember a single time hearing my parents threaten to wash my mouth out with soap. Maybe they should have, though I have no fucking clue if it would have changed anything.
Thus, my potty mouth has persisted into adulthood and morphed into full blown “fuckspeak.” I’m very careful never to be the first person to drop the F-bomb in a business setting, but once the F-ice is broken, I will follow quickly. What the fuck do I care anyway?
That’s what makes what happened to me this morning so just. Last night, I flew from DC to San Francisco, with a layover in Chicago. I arrived at my hotel in San Fran a bit after midnight, which made it about 3 AM body time. After sleeping fitfully for a few hours, I got up and stumbled into the bathroom, half asleep and bleary-eyed. It was then that I made one of the bigger travel mistakes of my life. It turns out that through my bloodshot, jet-lagged eyes, the little tube of hand soap and the TSA-approved travel-sized toothpaste tube looked an awful lot alike.
Before I knew what had happened, I had squirted a nice glob of soap on my toothbrush and started scrubbing away. My first thought was to wonder how my toothpaste had somehow gone rotten in the tube. But, then I looked down and noticed that I was standing there brushing my teeth with soap. It was actually not nearly as bad as I thought it would be, though I’m not going to pretend it was fun.
After spitting and rinsing a few dozen times and then brushing my teeth with actual toothpaste, I reflected on the karmic event I had just experienced. After 40+ years of F-bomb dropping, I had just voluntarily washed out my own mouth with soap. My parents never did it for me; so I did it myself. I wonder if this will have a profound impact on my use of foul language. I kinda fucking doubt it, but we’ll see.