Sunday, April 4, 2010

Faux Cursing? Not in This House!

Scene: Starbucks on Easter

Chaviva is busy grading exams, watching the after-church traffic flow in and out steadily. A couple and their daughter plop down at the table next to her. She continues to grade, interspersing exam marks with questions from the wife about what I'm doing (Judaic studies). A moment of silence, grading.

Woman: Oh my, I don't know if I should say that.
Man: I don't even think she heard you.
Me: What? Huh? I didn't hear you say anything.
Woman: Oh, I said (in whisper) oy vey! Is that a curse?
Me: Um, no. It's like saying "Oh geez" or something. It's fine.
Woman: Oh, wow, thank you. I was worried.

That was a weird encounter. Weird only because I'm always experiencing weird encounters at Starbucks. Then, as they left, the man wished me a "good day" and the woman issued me a "happy rest of the semester."

The funny thing is that growing up, despite my parents not being at all particularly religious, my parents wouldn't even let us say things like "oh geez" because the assumption was that it was a shortened form of "Oh Jesus." This went the same for other words that resembled curse words, like "fudge" and "crud." My father was very strict about the faux swearing in that he wasn't having any of it. Of course, as kids we pushed our limits by creating new and creative ways of saying the f-word, s-word, and the h-word. My father's least favorite one of all, actually, was heck for hell. You could have computer or TV cut short for saying heck.

Memories! Just more morsels from the childhood of Chaviva E. At your service!