Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Me and Buzz and Cussin'

If I was being real honest here, I would have to say that Buzz’s Pa used to swear real bad sometimes. Especially on the days when he was sober. My own Ma, when she heard that Buzz’s Pa had run away with an exotic dancer, told me that she was pleased that ‘old cussin’ rascal’ had gone south.

Buzz told me that an exotic dancer was one who came from Exotica, a country near Mexico and I believed it for more time than I should have.

In the old days, when Buzz would copy his old man in the swearin’ ways, if his Ma heard it she would send Buzz to a cupboard and make him stay there until he said sorry to her and to Jesus.

When his Pa went on the run, Buzz’s Ma decided that she could put things right in the swearin’ and cussin’ ways. She wasn’t stupid was his Ma, she had me believin’ real stupid things for a long time. She told me that when the sun went down, it hid behind a hill in Jackson County and when it had a sleep it would come out of hidin’. I swear to you I believed that until I was twelve years old. Twelve!

Anyway, she made up a list of words that were banned in their house. She said that if we didn’t use those bad words then maybe the big man upstairs would look kindly on the family and bring their Pa back. I gotta tell I don’t really think that Buzz’s Ma or Buzz ever bothered whether his Pa came home or not.

I mean the day that the Pa headed for the border, Buzz’s Ma couldn’t help singin’ and whistlin’ and stuff. I saw her look in the mirror and smile. I kid you not.

So here’s me getting’ off the path again, sorry about that folks. This list of words that were banned were stuck on the wall next to the door, so that Buzz could see them and understand them. His Ma would ask ‘have you read the list?’ and he’d say ‘yeh, Ma’.

Buzz had memorized them words - but not to avoid usin’ them – Oh no, it was so he could start cussin’ when he got to school or in town.
Buzz Ma knew her son better than anyone except me.

You see, she made up a whole list of words knowin’ that her eldest kid would use them no matter what she said. Okay, I gotta say I believed they was bad words as well and I kinda cussed when Buzz cussed.

The first word on the list was ‘Crinklebutt’ and when Mrs McAllister asked for an answer from Buzz about where Africa was (he said near Exotica) – she said that was wrong, and so Buzz said ‘that’s just Crinklebutt, Mrs McAllister’ and everyone in the classroom laughed. Buzz thinkin’ that this was ‘cause he’d used a real bad word.

His Ma had put a big read mark next to the word ‘Tooflepump’ and said that was the worst word anyone could ever use and sayin’ ‘Tooflepump’ meant goin’ straight to Hell without any argument.

So one day when Buzz was in a real bad mood (his Ma had told him he had to have a bath) he ran all the way up and down Main Street, shoutin’ ‘Tooflepump’ at the top of his voice. Most folks just walked on ignorin’ Buzz, but I heard a few people say that old Buzz was growin’ crazier by the day.

I never said ‘Tooflepump’ just in case ol’ Nick came and got me. I did say ‘Plopbuster’ (number three on the list) when I didn’t get picked for the football team.

That summer ol’ Buzz thought he was the meanest kid in town what with all his cussin’ and stuff. Truth was, folks just thought he was plain crazy – now, that I think on it, they was probably right. And a ‘Tooflepump’ to you too. 

bobby stevenson 2015 

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