Thank you, Yosemite Sam
Rattin’ frattin’ ways to voice displeasure appropriately in front of your child
My wife and I are careful to speak appropriately around our daughter. This means we refrain from letting loose with torrents of angry expletives when things raise our ire.
I explained to my daughter that it’s just a matter of respect. I don’t want her speaking like that or hearing those words while she’s a youngster, if possible. Although I must admit that there is a certain, not-so-terrible yet slightly blue word that is now known around our house as “Mama’s word.” (Note from Mom-on-Board: It’s the other word for donkey).
Still, it’s not like I’ve never been tested. I was watching a hockey game one night when the opposing team scored in overtime to abruptly end the game. My immediate reaction was to express my displeasure in a stream of expletives designed to illustrate the depth of my umbrage.
Instead I fell back on my training. That’s right. I’m trained not to say objectionable words. My teacher? A short, ill-tempered, red mustached miscreant who taught me a much more creative way to express outrage in front of my daughter: Yosemite Sam.
Having grown up with the Merrie Melodies cartoons, I’m well schooled in ways to express frustration, outrage and/or anger without sullying the ears of my little princess. Yosemite Sam was a valued educator during those early years. He’s also the subject of many regrettable tattoos and outdated truck mudflaps, but that’s someone else’s problem. Mostly he’s the best ranter I’ve ever seen.
Due to this training, I’ve compiled a list of words that can be used in times of high stress, yet won’t damage children’s ears. Feel free to use it the next time temper takes over.
Herein is a Dad’s list of acceptable curse words:
Dirty perkish flatten
Bunka borton perkaluma
Fritty little packin’ rattin’ rittin’
It’s a rather truncated list, but it comes straight from the classroom of Saturday morning cartoons in the 1970s and 1980s. And it will certainly get the job done. It’s helped me over the course of 10 years of parenting.
At least once, however, this training failed me. I haven’t lost my temper in front of my daughter, but I have lost it behind her. We were at an outdoor Bela Fleck concert last summer and some guy wandered over to our area and decided to plant himself right in front of us – during the bass solo.
I know. Crazy, right?
Our daughter was sitting on her mother’s lap, facing the other direction and away from the stage and the guy that was now casting a shadow over our entire area. I’ll just say my behavior was stupid and I’m very glad she didn’t see me blabbering on in an embarrassingly bellicose manner. My language – let’s just say I may not have adhered strictly to the Yosemite Sam Rules of Linguistic Etiquette – was something a Dad on Board should not be caught uttering. Luckily, she didn’t hear any of it.
The short version of how the incident ended? That dirty perkish horkaback moved his caraback backalaka out of everyone’s way.
Bill Burke is a lackafrat sacka frazza writer who lives in southern New Hampshire with his wife and daughter.