I love my profane child. Actually, I love him BECAUSE he is profane. If he didn’t curse, he wouldn’t be as endearing. He would be normal. Normal being, of course, shitty.
I have no idea where he gets it. What I do know is that I came home the other day and while I was standing there, cleaning the dried blood from my shoes, he walked up to me and said:
“Daddy. Where is fuck?”
Being no stranger to profanity myself, I only glanced up at him for a moment before I picked up a spray bottle of bleach and began hosing the rubber soles.
“Where is fuck?”
“Where is what?”
Confident that the DNA evidence had been thoroughly removed from my footwear, I straightened up and gave him my full attention.
“Buddy. What is ‘fuck’?”
I couldn’t have asked my daughter that question. She’s six and a half, and you never know when they learn things, do you? Had I asked her that question, she would have either blushed, giggled and run off, or she would have told me about pee pees and noonies, which is fine, I can deal with that, too, except I really didn’t feel like getting into any discussions about why you shouldn’t use swear words to describe the birds and the bees. Even if they are fucking.
My son, on the other hand, is too young to know better. So he’s off limits. Swear all you want.
My profane child. Profanity and innocence blend together and provide a warming feeling not unlike a good Bloody Mary. When they get a little older, and innocence becomes ignorance, that mix turns into something more like a Cement Mixer, but when they’re three years old, and you’ve spent your entire day running amok throughout the hallowed halls of a global corporation, walking over bodies and picking off the stragglers one by one, you need to come home to something heartwarming.
A Bloody Mary
Like a Bloody Mary. Or your three-year-old saying “fuck” for the first time.
My first impulse, swear to God, was to hug him and say:
“That’s my boy. Where is fuck? Welcome to the World of Men!”
Because isn’t that the question that most of us have been trying to answer since puberty? In many ways, life is a quest for fuck. We go to all lengths of trouble and consternation in order to get it, and then when we get it, we spend lots of money and effort in trying to hold on to it.
And, after all, this little boy in front of me was a product of all of that.
But he was pulling on my pant leg, awakening me from my reveries, and I realized that I had a question to answer.
“Buddy. What do you mean? What do you mean ‘Fuck’?”
“Vrroom-vroom!” he said, crouching down and making as if he were holding on to handlebars.
“Oh,” I said. “You mean Fahrrad! Your bicycle is called a Fahrrad!”
(Fahrrad being the German word for bicycle. We live in Vienna. We’re bilingual and shit.)
“That’s what I said, Daddy. Where is FUCK?”
It was outside, in front of the door. I wondered vaguely whether I was supposed to be doing anything. Something disciplinary. Something explanatory.
Meanwhile, my son had ridden off into the kitchen, chanting:
“Mommy look! Fuck!”