Me: (fork dropping to my plate) Oh, hand me my phone, please.
Hank: (reaching into our phone bowl, fishing for mine)
Me: I know this goes against the rules, but I need to share something with you boys and you are gonna love it.
Pai: This better be good enough to break the no technology on Thursdays rule.
Me: Oh, it is. Y’all…
Pai: Yup, it’s gonna be good, Hank. It is always a good sign when your mãe (mom) begins a conversations with y’all.
Me: (clears throat, flirty side eye exchanged with Pai) Y’all remember my friend, Tricia?
Pai: Tricia from IU. Yes. Lovely woman.
Hank: She sent me a box of every flavor of Oreo we can’t get in Portugal. She is very nice, but not just because she sent me a present.
Me: The very lady. Well, she and I have been friends for years, since way before you papa and I started kissing and she knows my struggle with swearing.
Pai: It isn’t even a struggle at this point. It is more a life style.
Me: Truth, but we are all in agreement that Molly will most probably not make a better choice like Hank did and will be cussing fluently and in two languages before we know it if I don’t shape up. Sooooo, Tricia sent me this list: The Time Hawkins Handbook, Alternative Cuss Words, Field Tested & Mother Approved.
Pai: Who is Tim Hawkins?
Me: No clue, but just listen to this list. There are three categories: Miffed, Exasperated and I’m Not Having It!
Hank: What does miffed mean?
Pai: Mildly irritated.
Hank: (chewing, nodding)
Me: Right, Miffed includes such gems as: shucks, rats, gosh, and toot, which I have never heard used in a situation of miffedom in my life and clearly must be something Californians said in the 1950’s when they forgot their surfboard wax back in the station wagon. Then we continue with classics such as: flippin, heck, geez, dag, dang, darn and darnit.
Hank: I can’t even tell the difference between the last ones.
Me: Exasperated highlights include: good grief, good gravy and the real zinger: jackwagon.
Me: there is also crud muffin, What-the-Hey and a person favorite: bucket head.
Hank: What the what?
Me: That is also on the list along with Dad Burnit, Dag Nabbit which I remember from Bugs Bunny, Confound it, Dad Blame It, Dad Gummit and something my Aunt Al always used to say, Awwwww, Shucky Darn. And we would be remiss if we over looked: Son of a biscuit, Son of a Biscuit Eater, Son of a Baptist Preacher and Son of a Bacon Bit.
Hank: (riots of laughter)
Pai: I need context.
Me: Charles, I know you didn’t eat the the chipped beef I made for the church social! Son of a biscuit, now I don’t have time to make more!
Hank: (practically hyperventilating) What?
Me: And last but not least we have the I’m Not Having it Category. This is the one I will must study and try to adopt to curb my sailor slang. My absolute favorite go-to curse alternative is already here…
Pai: What is…
Hank: Shut the front door!
Me: Correct!!! But we mustn’t forget Fartknocker, Mother Francis and Great Cesar’s Ghost!
Pai: Let me see this list.
Me: (handing over my phone)
Hank: (practically purple with laughter)
Pai: My favorite is still Bucket Head.
Me: This list is far from comprehensive, but it is good. My dad when he was real mad would say, “God Bless America!” and there was nothing patriotic about it. It meant he was probably bleeding or drove the car through the garage door without opening it first.
Hank: Did he really do that?
Me: Um… not sure. I have drank a lot of beer since then, but it is possible and my mom used to say TS when we were mad because we didn’t get out way.
Pai: What does TS mean?
Me: My mom always claimed it meant Turtle Shavings, but let’s be honest, it meant Tough Shit.
Hank: (practically choking on watercress soup) No way. (shaking his head, recovering from the shock) Not my grammy.
Me: Oh you think your grammy who is so classy and so elegant and wouldn’t dare, but you would be wrong. There is fire in that lady.
Hank: Nope, my grammy is sweet and quiet and soft.
Me: Yes, but she had to survive me and your Uncle Jesse and we were annoying little…
Pai: Bucket Heads?
Me: I was gonna say Fartknockers.
Pai: (eyes smiling) It’s good that Americans have strange turns of phrase like Portuguese.
Me: Right like, Vai dar banho ão cão!
Hank: Go wash the dog which is another way of telling someone off.
Me: And E Pá!
Pai: That is reaching.
Hank: E Pá is like… it is like: Come on Or Argh or sometimes it means Wow.
Pai: In Setúbal “E Pá” means everything.
Me: (giggling) and Caraças.
Pai: Technically, caraças is swearing.
Hank: Yah. I would get in trouble if I said it in class.
Pai: It basically means damn it.
Me: But I say it allll the time!
Pai: We know.
Hank: You really do.
Me: I thought it meant like gosh or geez or (quickly consulting the list) fiddle faddle.
Pai: No, it means damn it. People let you get away with it because it is just so cute when you say it.
Me: What? Really? No way.
Hank: Really. When you say caraças it’s like it isn’t even cussing when it actually is kinda.
Me: (blushing at my blunder and the compliment)