Ok, we didn't actually hear the muppets say the eff word, but they gave us the means by which to discover it, and to a 3 and 5-year-old, the responsibility for what happened after that lay squarely upon the shoulders of Redheaded Green Muppet Girl and Purple Brunette Muppet Boy.
Jennifer and I had just finished breakfast and were recovering from Aunt Judy's after-meal ritual. The after-meal ritual consisted of Aunt Judy standing us up on the swiveling black pleather kitchen chairs and sort of dusting our faces with a nasty, scratchy wet washrag that was at least 4 days old. Then she would get her vacuum with the hose attachment (we're still standing on the swivel chairs, remember) and suck up any crumbs that may have been hiding in our cracks or crevices. Jennifer and I hated and feared the after-meal ritual and we soon learned which meals were more crumb inducing and we came to hate them. Grilled cheese, rice, poptarts, cereal and toast, to name a few, were foods we merely picked at when they were presented to us.
But I digress.
So, Jennifer and I were watching Sesame Street in her playroom, just like we did every morning. Just as I had finished wrapping my head in a brown towel and securing it with one of my Uncle Ray's ties, in order to complete my "Jesus' mom, Mary" ensemble, our favorite part of Sesame Street came on. We turned our heads in unison toward the beginning bars of a familiar song. The Word Family song:
he Word Family song was an educational part of the program, in which one muppet held a sign with the ending of the words, such as "op", "et", "ing" or "all", just to name a few. The other muppet would hold a sign with a differently colored letter that changed throughout the song, such as "m", "b", "s" or "f". Then they would sing a song about how changing the first letter of a word changed the entire word.
That day's ending was "uck".
I continued my daily ritual of dressing up like Mary, and had just found the large stick I'd found in the yard and hidden in the playroom the day before, to use as my staff. I was half-listening to the Word Family song and following along in my head, but Jennifer was enthralled. The word family song only lasted a couple of minutes, but the resulting aftershock would be be burned into my psyche forever.
In the background I heard Sesame Street come to an end, but Jennifer continued to sing the Word Family song, experimenting with different and varied words, rolling them around in her mouth like gumballs filled with danger.
"You take a b that's buh, and a u-c-k, uck. You put em all together and they spell buck!"
As I was adjusting my rope belt and tying my Jesus sandals, I found myself humming along with Jennifer and admiring her gift at coming up with words the Muppets hadn't thought of.
Jennifer and I kept playing the word family game back and forth, and we made up some crazy words, let me tell you. Ruck, Nuck, Huck and so on. Then, it was Jennifer's turn again.
"You take an f that's fuh, and a u-c-k, uck. You put em all together and they spell f*ck!"
We stared at each other, wide-eyed. Somewhere in the deepest recesses of our young minds, we recalled having heard this word being tossed around the trailer court. Never from our own parents, though.
Jennifer: "What do you think it means?"
Me: "What do I think what means?"
Jennifer: "What do you think F*CK means?"
*we fall over laughing*
Me: "You said f*ck!"
Jennifer: "I'm gonna ask my mom what it means."
And with that, she turned to leave the playroom.
Me: "NO! You can't! What if it's bad?"
Jennifer: "Well, I want to know, so I'm gonna ask her."
She took off down the hallway, to the kitchen where Aunt Judy was scrubbing something.
I tried to stop her, but she was determined. I begged and pleaded but it was no use. This is how I remember that morning:
It was very dramatic. Anyhow, what happened next was to test the limits of my childhood sanity.
Aunt Judy: "What?! You can see I'm scrubbing something, can't you? Can't this wait?"
Jennifer: "What does f*ck mean?"
Wait for it........wait for it..........
AAAAAAUUUUGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!! Screamed Aunt Judy.
AAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!! Screamed we in return. I may have peed a little.
Then Aunt Judy dropped her scouring pad and reached for something, anything, with which to chase us with. It was a bottle of Joy dishwashing liquid.
And we were off.
She chased us into the living room and I dove behind a large orange recliner/rocker. I curled my body into the smallest shape that I could and clamped my mouth tightly shut while still trying to scream, "I didn't say it! Jennifer did! Go after her, not me! She's the bad one!!!"
Only it sounded like this, "Mfd dnt srhs ahh!! Mcchhhefr md!!! Co frt r hsr md!!!!"
Suddenly, Aunt Judy changed her attack. Ignoring me, she turned swiftly and saw Jennifer scrambling for cover behind the console television. Ha! She pounced and in one smooth move held Jennifer's nose shut and squirted dish soap into her mouth when she opened it for air.
I stayed put, I wasn't sure this was over yet.
Aunt Judy stood up wearily and went back to the kitchen with her bottle of soap, leaving me behind the rocker. I stayed there the rest of the morning, just in case.
Later that afternoon, after we had been vaccuumed and dusted, I asked Jennifer what the soap had tasted like. She made a face, "ewww! Yucky! Why?"
Well duh. Because if it hadn't tasted too bad I was planning on saying f*ck tomorrow. That was so much fun!!