I was raised in a home without vulgarity. The most extreme language verging on obscenity was ‘Holy Cow’ or ‘Drat It Anyway!’ Similar to the old book I am now reading that repeatedly says, “Go obscenity thyself”.
But our neighbors, when I was a kid. That was a different story. Theirs was a democratic household where they spoke obscenities openly and eloquently without guilty hesitation or a catch in the throat. Oaths and obscenities rang through the house from morning to night like a never-ending catchy little tune.
And yes, the expressions they used were shocking. Their words made my heart pound in my chest. But at the same time, I couldn’t help but admire their freedom of expression that surpassed all rules and regulations. It was to be admired. The daring bravery of it all.
When one of the kids wandered into the kitchen in a pair of baggy jeans, the other sneered. “You’re not going to wear those, are you? Go look at your backside in the mirror, you look like you sh_ _ yourself.”
The obscenity of the remark was shocking as always, but even more shocking, was the fact that the expression was one of absolute unadulterated truth. From the back, without a doubt, that is exactly what those baggy jeans looked like. Like they were masking a very firm finely formed fecal log (or two).
And that only added to my amazement of their vocabulary. That such sinful expressions could carry a level of absolute accuracy and, at the same time, concerned goodness. In this instance, good advice and concern that would prevent a sibling from walking around town looking like they messed themselves.
Goodness in obscenity. Quite remarkable. But I silently observed and listened and found an endearing feeling in this exchange. Concern of one sibling for how the other might look.
Now many of the expressions so prevalent in everyday conversation in that household were never defined for me. And of course I refused to ask. I would appear far too ignorant, far too non-worldly, and if I were to question the meanings, such an exchange might force me to have to say the word. And furthermore, I pretty much believed that if I did ask, the neighbor’s kids (parents included) would roll on the floor and laugh until they literally fecalled themselves.
And so, I knew I must circumvent their style of speak by giving it a wide berth. By skirting it entirely. And truly, since these were words I was not allowed to use, what matter the meaning? What use to me? When applied?
In our house – never. Not unless I was hell-bent on nursing hurt feelings and a blistered backside.
And so, because of all this, I cast my own connotations and definitions on the expressions I heard.
But one of the more frequently used words, I found rather confusing. I wasn’t sure if a donkey was a reference to testes, the penis, the vagina, or the anus. Was it all or one? What was it anyway?
And so here I am, some fifty years later, and still not certain. And still, resolved in mind to never ask.
But now I don’t need to. The meaning has suddenly become crystal clear. In the past, without certainty of what a donkey was, I likewise never knew if a donkey hole was a penis, an anus, a vagina or a combination of all three. But now I know.
I’ve seen enough cops on TV using guns and tasers irresponsibly to know what a donkey hole is and it is not any of those things that for more than fifty years, I thought it was.