Thursday 27 Oct 2016

AJ Robinson

I don’t swear. I just thought I’d make that clear from the onset. Many years ago, no, don’t ask, because I’m not about to admit how long ago it was, my mother overheard me using bad language. She and admonished me not to do so, again. After that, I promised her I would not use such words again,; I have held to that promise ever since.

Yeah, I know, it’s silly. Unusual ideas link the child to parent, even after so many decades. That’s how life works.

My wife, on the other hand, had quite the different situation. Growing up, she spent a lot of time with one of her grandmothers. This old gal, well, she had quite the, salty tongue. As my wife told me, the old girl routinely used foul language in her everyday speech. She’d tell her husband his bleeping tea was ready, to turn the bleeping TV on as it was time for the bleeping news and so on.

My wife grew up with that. On top of that, my wife is from New York City. Being from NYC, well, you get the picture.

We got married and had a child, a little girl. When you have a kid, certain things in your life have to change, among them your manner of speech. I remember Bill Cosby doing this comedy routine where he thought his dad was an idiot, for a while, because the man could not finish a sentence. He’d get mad and start to say something, but always stop before saying what he really wanted to. Finally, Bill got old enough to figure it out. The reason his father talked like that: he didn’t want to curse in front of Bill and his brother, Russell, when they were young and impressionable.

Robin Williams, yet another great comic, spoke of having to cut down on drinking, when his son was born. Not only was there the issue of puking on his son, as opposed to the other way around, but there were toys like transformers that, as Williams put it, “play with your mind.” “It’s a robot, it’s a truck; what the @#% is it?!”

Comedic genius is Robin Williams.

I mentioned to my wife the need for us, well, her, to watch our language around our daughter. We didn’t want her repeating something inappropriate in front of others; it’d be embarrassing. She didn’t see the need; what could possibly go wrong with how she talked?

Well, one day something sort of jumped up and bit her, so to speak. Our daughter was about two or three. She was sitting on the couch looking out the window. My wife asked her what she was looking at. She replied, quite casually, “Oh, just some old @#$%.

That day my wife learned why she needed to modify her speech pattern. There are things that change when you make the transition from mere adult to parent. Sometimes, language is one of them.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

More by AJ Robinson:
Tell a Friend

Click above to tell a friend about this article.

Please report typos or corrections
to the editor