I learned most of my cussing from my older sister Jennifer, four years my senior. She passed away in 2006 at forty-nine years old. I am now sixty-one. It’s strange being “older” than she was then.
Anyway, I can’t remember what precipitated yet another battle between myself and Jennifer, but whatever it was riled me up big time. It was also bedtime. Something pushed me to the breaking point so much that I screamed “f—” at my sister, who subsequently ratted on me to Mom.
Both of them came chasing after me. Jennifer had already gone to the kitchen to get the metal tin of “McCormick” cayenne pepper and had it in her hand as she chased me.
For a moment, I thought I had outsmarted them and could get away. But my bedroom door handle had no latch plate, so I could not seek refuge behind a locked door.
They caught up to me in the den, Mom grabbing my arms and Jennifer grabbing my feet. They pushed me to the floor and held me down so I could not move. I knew what was coming next. The burn of cayenne pepper!
I could see the excitement in Jennifer’s eyes. She handed the pepper to Mom in joyous expectation, who then grabbed my chin, opened my mouth, and shook the tin furiously, filling my mouth with pepper.
Only it wasn’t cayenne pepper . . .
It was just chili powder! Jennifer, in her zeal, grabbed the wrong spice! She had already let go of my feet in anticipation of my cries of pain. She was sorely disappointed when I began to lick my lips and exclaim, “Yum!” over and over again.
Boy, Jennifer was pissed! She was about to head to the kitchen when Mom stopped her, said she was tired, and to call it a night. I trotted to bed triumphant.
Jennifer refused to look at me as she walked to her bedroom. HA! HA!
Jim Teachey from Boonville sent me the above story about being punished for cussing when he was little. It made me laugh. I know a lot of people who got similar punishments growing up.
Like Jim, I started cussing as a little thing. I was probably 8 or so the first time I dropped an f-bomb. I remember being terrified Mama or Daddy would find out what I said and skin my tail for it. Luckily, I never did get caught.
I hid the dirty habit from my parents until I was beyond the age of retribution. There was no cayenne, hot sauce, or soap punishments for me. If there had, maybe I wouldn’t cuss like a sailor today.
Brandon disagrees. He vividly remembers Mama Clark whipping out the liquid hand soap anytime he got caught cursing. It didn’t stop him from cussing up a storm. His mouth is so bad it could give mine a run for its money. lol
How about y’all? What happened the first time your parents caught you cursing? Did you get your mouth washed out? Did it stop you from cussing?