Dirty Words

The following is a true story.

Well, it's really closer to two or three true stories combined into on. We call that literary license.

Some of the names have been changed to protect my reputation the innocent and sensitive.


Dirty Words

Three generations of family sat around a large table enjoying a Thanksgiving meal with all the fixings. Everyone was having a great time until great-aunt Linda splashed gravy on her new white shirt.

"Aw, hell," she spat.

"That's not a nice word!" said eight-year-old David, always parent-pleaser.

"That's right, David," his mother said.

"Oh, come on. There's nothing wrong with the word hell," Linda objected. "It's in the Bible. Besides, I bet David's heard a lot worse on the playground."

David's rabble-rousing grandmother asked, "Is that true, David?"

Thanksgiving at the Trolls
Thanksgiving at the Trolls (From martha_chapa95)
"Is what true?"

"Have you heard other dirty words at school?"

David's normally smiling face shrank and his eyes darted from his mother to his father, neither of whom seemed to want to help with this question. "Um . . ." he hummed, stalling.

"I bet David knows a lot of dirty words," Linda teased.

David's heart fluttered, and he blushed from neck to temples.

"Do you know any other bad words, David?" his grandmother asked.

". . . Yeah. I guess so," he said after much contemplation.

"Like what?"

David's jaw dropped. "Well, I'm not going to tell you!"

His mother finally entered the conversation, but not in the way David had hoped: "Why not?"

"Mom!" David yelled. "Because it's a cuss word. I'm not supposed to say cuss words!"

"Would you whisper it to me?" his grandma asked.

"Yeah," his mother encouraged. "Would you whisper it to Grandma?"

"Well . . . " He hemmed and hawed.

"Come on," Grandma said. "I promise you won't get into any trouble for whispering it to me."

David didn't know what to do. He knew he wasn't supposed to say those bad words, but his grandmother's promise of penalty-free cussing finally got the best of him. "Okay," he said reluctantly.

He slid out of his chair and dragged his feet to the end of the table where his grandmother sat. "All right, David," his grandmother reassured him. "Tell me what other bad word you know."

David took a short breath and let it out quickly. Then he leaned in to his grandma's ear, cupped his hand around his mouth, and whispered, "Poop."

David's grandmother made a noise that sounded like something behind her nose had imploded. She pressed her lips together tightly, and her face turned redder than his. David thought her head might explode from trying to hold something in — a cough? a sneeze? a burp?

David's Butt
David's Butt (Photo credit: zeekslider)
She gave her grandson a reassuring hug. "That word's okay, David. Poop isn't a bad word."

All around the table, David's family members tried not to snicker and failed.

"It isn't?" David asked incredulously.


"No, honey. It's just fine."

"Oh." David felt both confused and relieved.

"You thought poop was a cuss word?" his mother asked.

"Uh-huh."

"Why did you think it's a bad word?"

David answered, "Because it means shit."
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