Thursday, October 22, 2009

The F-Bomb!

There was a time not so long ago when my children were always saying funny things... mispronouncing words, misunderstanding their meanings, and the like. It was part of learning how to communicate verbally. Now, apparently, the roles are being reversed, and I’m the one who doesn’t always understand what’s being said.

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting at the computer proof-reading the chapter of a children’s tale I had written. My thirteen-year-old daughter Josie came into the bedroom and plopped onto my bed behind me, listening half-heartedly to the news that was on CNN. I can usually block out extraneous noise when I’m writing, but something about one particular news story grabbed my attention.

The Prime Time anchor read from the tele-prompter.

Earlier today, a woman in a shopping center dropped the “F-bomb” in the midst of fellow shoppers. An off-duty fire inspector was nearby, and asked her to refrain from doing it again, as there were children nearby. Enraged at the inspector, the woman began letting more “F-bombs” fly until finally, the officer arrested her and escorted her from the building.

I turned from my computer in amazement.

“You’ve got to be kidding me! You mean you can get arrested for farting in public, now?”

Josie looked at me incredulously, and then collapsed onto the pillows, giggling hysterically.

“Mum,” she gasped, “The F-bomb means she said the F-word!”

Well, THAT wasn’t what I’d been picturing, let me tell you! The mental image I’d had was one of a young mother who was out for an afternoon of shopping, which had been preceded by a lunch at a nice little restaurant. A restaurant where she’d probably consumed a cup of chili with beans followed by a broccoli quiche. At the shopping center, well, nature took its course like nature so often does--despite our wishes to the contrary--and the woman broke wind.

Admit it, it’s happened to the best of us. Muscles that control such things simply have a mind of their own at times, right? Most of us quickly walk from the spot of detonation, hoping that someone else will get the blame. If you’re really quick-witted, you might even scowl contemptuously at another passer-by or give them a reproachful glance, thereby fully depositing any guilt squarely upon another’s shoulders.

But not the star of my misunderstood news item! No, SHE stayed in place and bravely suffered the fallout from her bomb. And then, when this stranger, this FIRE INSPECTOR, called her to the carpet on it, did she blush in embarrassment and apologize, as most of us would do? No way! I’d been convinced that this woman possessed remarkable, incredible powers! I’d heard of being “mad enough to chew nails” and “mad enough to spit” but this woman, I thought, could flatulate on command! After all, she was “letting F-bombs fly!” That was something to almost—but not quite—be envious of.

And the fire inspector’s involvement? Well, in my scenario, he was concerning himself with the public welfare! A build-up of methane gas can be combustible and thereby dangerous to those humble citizens who pay his salary. Perhaps a woman who haphazardly threw around MY kind of F-bombs SHOULD be removed from public areas! But not arrested, no. I thought that was taking things a bit too far. Give her some Bean-o or Gas-X, but don’t give her a criminal record for loosing her pucker string in a crowd.

My brief vision of “The F-bomb That Could Have Leveled a Shopping Center” went up in a puff of smoke. (Sweet, nice-smelling smoke, like you’d get from incense or something…)

It was clear to me that I wasn’t “up” on the latest slang.

It could be argued that someone saying the F-word in public SHOULD be reprimanded. I acknowledge that there is a distressful increase in distasteful--and sometimes downright foul--language that is casually uttered these days in public, in print, and on TV. But arrested for it? I’m not sure. I guess without witnessing the whole scenario, I can’t give a firm opinion on it--although getting thrown in jail for it doesn’t seem very American to me. And arrested by a fire marshal? I don’t get that. An off duty fire marshal? Nuh, uh. It seems to me like he wanted some attention or notoriety from the incident because chances are it wouldn’t have escalated into a “letting F-bombs fly” scene if he’d chosen to handle the situation in a manner that wasn’t so antagonistic.

The bottom line is, I don’t know.

What I DO know is that my mother never would have dropped an F-bomb—not my kind nor Josie’s, not in public nor in the privacy of her own home! She was and is a lady, and in the house where I grew up, to say “break wind” in the vernacular was to utter a four-letter word. You didn’t say it. You didn’t drop it. And you didn’t let it fly. And you NEVER misunderstood what she was talking about, the way I misunderstood the CNN reporter.

I only hope that I can be half as good an example to my daughter as Mum was to me. But I despair. Josie’s already perfected the art of blaming the dog.

This 'Observations from The F.A.R.M. (Fresh Air and Room to Move)' column was one of two I wrote which won 3rd place in the Maine Press Association's Better Newspapers contest. The photo was taken in Trantens Family Grocers' parking lot this afternoon. I have no idea what this lovely lady's name is, but she looked to be perfectly capable of dropping a F-bomb.


  1. Doesn't this column give you any ideas for the photo in the caption contest?? Or is it just me?

    Well, it definitely WASN'T me...

    It was the dog...YES! I'm pretty sure it was the dog...


  2. Once again the pain & strain of living in Maine with a tidy mane is very plain .

  3. Ali g! Good morning to you!

    Hey, that sounds like an excellent entry for the caption contest! (If it is, what's the matter with my hair? Huh?)

    Please let me know if that is how you intended it, because I'll add it to the comments on the 'Grins For Silent Predator' article, if so. Certainly wouldn't want you complaining later on that your entry wasn't in the running(if you DON'T win--and you just might NOT, dear chap--for my judge doesn't know you from a Siamese!)

    BTW, if you DO win, who would you want the poem written for, or about what? Just curious...if it's a secret, you can tell Trev and I'll read about it later.

  4. To appease the fleas on Karen Pease she just let forth with a mighty sneeze

  5. Anon...
    A sneeze doth clear congestion--
    From mucus lungs do part!
    But what might get ejected
    When sneeze provokes a fart?

  6. If my mother happens to read this...I meant to say 'gaseous release'.

    It was the rhyming, Mum! Nothing rhymes with 'gaseous release'! Can't you look the other way, just this one? Please?

    (DAD can say it! That's just not fair...)

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Please don't come any closer - a silent (but deadly) F-bomb has just been released in this area....!!!

    I'm an idiot - tried to amend my new caption before & it deleted itself...

  9. Yeah, well I just WROTE one, and it disappeared! Is this GAG, or DUD???

    Idiots are most definitely welcome here, Dozy, so pull up a stump and sit a while! I shall add that to my caption contest entries, if I may!

    Thanks, girl!

  10. Well! I've spent the 4:40 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. section of my Sunday commenting on four blogs and on artices about bullying, so I guess I deserve a treat. The horizon is just now beginning to lighten, and while the southern skies are crowded with puffy clouds, overhead it is a magnificent deep blue. I believe a brisk walk in the cool morning air while waiting for the sunrise is in order!

    Be sure to take a gander at the moon tonight. First quarter is always enjoyable, as it sets early enough for most people to enjoy the spectacle. Enjoy, ad happy Sunday.


  11. If one is plagued by gaseous release
    Lighting same could cause decease
    Then should we call the fart police...?
    Or on a new bottom take out a lease.

    C'mon try harder!
    Too much sitting out there gazing at the moon and scratching fleas by the sounds of it

  12. Trev!!!

    A challenge???? Seriously??? Ah-vah!!! And you've caught me at a bad time, too! But I am KazzaBP, and I can NOT let a challenge go unanswered! Pffft!

    I'll be YOU don't have the ******* to answer MY challenge! (You'll have to ask Anon for the translation, there, sport!) How about YOU recite 'Address to a Haggis' and send me the recording? Hmmm? Or are you only good at keeping a low profile??

    Grrr! Grrrrr!!! I'll be back--just give me (if you would) a little while to recover from the day and get settled into my evening.

    Try harder, my ***! You are just about to make my acquaintance! Grrrrrr.

  13. Trev!!! Oh, you have no idea the laughter you've generated this early, early morning! What a perfect thing to wake up to...and I was only passing by (it's not yet five a.m. and I intended to sleep another half-hour), too!

    Thank you for that! But you can't weasle out that easily, my friend! I've been told those words before...but the proof is in the pudding. The pudding is called 'haggis'. And the words to the poem can be found in the blog entry 'And so, we hear from Jack'.

    And I...well, I will be back, and you will be humbled.

    Love me, huh? Hehehe. Ah, goodness. Thanks for the grins!

  14. A visitor has come to GAG
    (by Karen Bessey Pease…
    That stands for Grumbles and for Grins…
    Stop by and read it, please!)

    This guest to GAG, his name is Trev.
    I THINK he is a guy…
    But he is quite mysterious,
    and I want to know why!

    I’ve gleaned a bit from comments…
    I’ve studied his demeanor.
    And since I trust my instincts--
    I’m sure he has a w****r.

    He talks of ducking ‘maintenance’…
    and I presume that means
    That he won’t pay for child support…
    He won’t fork out the greens.

    The phrasing in his comments
    reminds me of a Brit…
    And yet I think he’s teasing me
    with shrewd and cunning wit.

    He boasts of doing prison time…
    of being all locked up.
    But I can tell an honest man—
    his tale is all cocked up!

    By jove, that does remind me!
    A tattoo he does claim!
    He says it’s on his ‘business’,
    and swears it is a NAME.

    Trev vows he has imprinted
    upon his crumpled skin
    The title of his fantasy…
    the dazzling Mrs. Grins.

    But while he does—with one breath—
    swear phallic dedication,
    He then finds fault and denigrates
    my lyric reputation!

    He puts me in a pickle,
    he puts me in a bind…
    As hostess I am hampered
    and can’t find peace of mind.

    For I am oh, so tempted!
    I want to call his bluff!
    I want to prove to everyone
    that Trev is nought but guff.

    And yet…this is the internet!
    I can’t ask him to show
    To untold other bloggers,
    just what he has below!

    And so I’ll have to let it go…
    (please take me at my word!
    I wasn’t being literal!
    No matter what you’ve heard!)

    Dear Trev, this round I give to you…
    you are GAG’s newest star!
    But I'll bet K-N’s all you see,
    and can’t get up an ‘ARE’!!

    Ahem. Mr. Trev. I expect a recording of 'Address to a Haggis' to land in my email no later than high noon on Wednesday, October 28th, 2009--(EDT, in case you ARE 'from away'.)

  15. Well, it has become apparent that my exceptional poetic riposte to Trev's challenge has scared the poor fellow off. Sigh... And he was just beginning to get interesting, too.


    Trev, don't have to be as magnificent as I am to be welcome on GAG! Come back, and I promise to be a bit gentler on you...

    Ya wimp.

  16. Just a quickie!.... ;o)

    Only 4 1/2 hours left on the Name That Caption contest! My intrepid judge will receive all the entries tomorrow, so if you want a chance to win, please enter!

    Happy Hallowe'en!