F is for fudge-stick

The Compass - - Editorial - — Harold Wal­ters lives Hap­pily Ever Af­ter in Dunville. He thinks it’s cool to live in the only Cana­dian prov­ince with its own time zone. He does not think it cool to live in a prov­ince that taxes books. Reach him at gh­wal­ters663@gmail.com.

In a pre­vi­ous cen­tury, in a dif­fer­ent bay, when I was a brazen lit­tle bay-boy, I once hid be­hind a gatepost and taunted dear old Aunt Mil­lie as she dodged by: “Silly Mil­lie, broke her belly, Rid­ing on a crock of jelly.” Pappy heard me be­ing dis­re­spect­ful and tanned my arse with an alder switch three-foot long.

I s’pose I’m a bet­ter man be­cause of Pappy’s ac­tion, eh b’ys?

A spell ago, some ya­hoo in a pickup truck bawled out at a young woman re­porter us­ing words that are only fit to be printed in ini­tials, not quite an acro­nym.

I reckon his Pappy didn’t lash his arse suf­fi­ciently when Ya­hoo was a saucy pup.

Speak­ing of Pap­pys, mine was noted in the cove for be­ing an in­ven­tive cusser. On frosty win­ter morn­ings his ep­i­thets de­scrib­ing Dob­bin could be heard as horse and man fol­lowed the Pond Path into the fire­wood droke.

Lesser men stood in awe when the air around Pappy’s head smol­dered with sul­fur and brim­stone.

Pappy made me proud. But, you know, not once while he car­ried the Cham­pi­onship Cup, so to speak, did Pappy ever use the F-Word. And he never spoke dis­re­spect­fully to women.

And I didn’t ei­ther af­ter my close en­counter with the lov­ingly-ap­plied alder rod.

Be­sides, if, in my dotage, I should fool­ishly dare to re­vert of boy­hood an­tics, Dear­est Duck would—lov­ingly?—em­ploy some con­tem­po­rary dis­ci­plinary switch.

“Harry, my well-bred love,” says Dear­est Duck, lodg­ing a warn­ing palm on my shoul­der, “you’re rootin’ tootin’ right I would.”

You might not be­lieve me but I was un­fa­mil­iar with the F-Word un­til — af­ter a shift in house­keep­ing — our family moved to a for­eign prov­ince. I was a grown boy by then, the alder scars on my arse nearly faded away.

It was dif­fer­ent times from now. JFK was King of Camelot. Nikita Khrushchev had re­cently banged his shoe on the podium at the UN.

Nev­er­the­less, the F-Word had wormed its way into the teenage ver­nac­u­lar.

But it was a Big Bad Word. It was a fight­ing word… … es­pe­cially if its ut­ter­ance might as­sault the un-sul­lied ears of one’s high school sweet­heart, eh b’ys?

Truly.

If some brutish lout in the group said, “F-Word,” in the vicin­ity of your love, as a chival­rous male, as a knight with a duck­tail and a turned up col­lar, manly code re­quired that you heave down the gaunt­let and chal­lenge the lout into the joust­ing lists:

“How dare you speak such foul lan­guage around my girl, you low-life cretin. I’m about to teach you re­spect for ten­der maid­ens.”

Or words to that ef­fect. “Harry, my gal­lant love,” says Dear­est Duck, her palm nearly a ca­ress, “was that ever you de­fend­ing a damsel?”

“My Duck,” say I, “I’ve worn glasses all my life.”

Dear­est Duck spocked an eye­brow.

“My Duck, not even a bar­bar­ian would fight a boy with glasses.”

“Harry?”

“Oh, I hurled the chal­lenge a time or two and of­fered to set my specs aside. But even with my knuck­les cocked in front of my my­opic eyes the time for fisticuffs had passed, the ya­hoo shuf­fled away prais­ing his own re­solve for not pound­ing the piss out of me.”

Spec­ta­cles not­with­stand­ing, time – as it is wont to do – passed and times changed.

Can you imag­ine how my erst­while in­no­cent bay-boy ear tin­gled the first time I heard a girl – a girl! – say the F-Word?

To­day, the F-Word is ubiq­ui­tous, univer­sal to the point of be­ing sound­less, to be­ing mostly un­couth ver­bal punc­tu­a­tion.

Had Granny heard the maid, she surely would have de­clared her a sin­ner and scrav­elled around the cove herd­ing to­gether a con­gre­ga­tion to pray for the fallen fe­male’s soul.

To­day, the F-Word is ubiq­ui­tous, univer­sal to the point of be­ing sound­less, to be­ing mostly un­couth ver­bal punc­tu­a­tion.

Most of us not yet buried re­mem­ber when the reign­ing King of Canada’s Pappy flung wide the doors for the F-Word’s ac­cep­tance — kinda.

“Fud­dle Dud­dle,” said the once and un­con­ven­tional king.

“Harry, you sure that was Pierre’s pur­pose?” says Dear­est Duck.

“I’ve been known to be wrong, my Duck,” say I.

What­ever the case, al­though the F-Word is as com­mon as fudge sticks, it is still pos­si­ble for it to be painted black when swine fling it ma­li­ciously, eh b’ys?

Think of the ya­hoo in the pickup truck and re­porter.

You know what would be a good thing?

If some Watch­dog Pappy would chop down a sturdy length of alder and wallop his Ne­an­derthal arse.

Thank you for read­ing.

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