musings

Tantrums and “fightin’ words”…

Yesterday afternoon, as winds blew fiercely through our ‘hood, I got bored and started checking out YouTube. Someone uploaded a video of a young girl having a massive tantrum back in 2016 (or possibly earlier).

I don’t know why, but I started watching this… and quite clearly heard the other girl, apparently filming all of this for posterity, say “Fuck you!” while their mom was outside of the car. Mom buckles the girl into her seat and they start heading for home as the child continues to wail and flail. At one point, the other girl yells that her sister has somehow hurt her, and she yells at her little sister to “get off her”.

I know it’s kind of rotten of me, but I laughed pretty hard when the girl said “Fuck you.” It’s as if she’s heard it a lot of times and it means nothing more than a childish oath to her, like “buzz off” or “go suck an egg.” My guess is that the older child either watches a lot of cable TV or has frequently heard older people say that. I decided to share the video with friends because, honestly, I wasn’t sure I’d heard her clearly. Had she really said “Fuck you!” on camera? Yep… she had!

I couldn’t help but remember what it was like for me when I was that age. I HATED seatbelts with a fiery passion when I was a child, even though in those days, they were just lap belts in the back seat and we were not required by law to use them. I hated riding up front especially, on the occasions I was forced to wear a seatbelt (which wasn’t that often, really), because the shoulder belt would always hit me in the face. I remember throwing tantrums whenever I was required to buckle up– usually by my dad, who was sometimes a stickler for safety and always wore his seatbelt, but was inconsistent about making me wear them. Usually, he’d make me wear one if he was feeling especially controlling. Mom was the same way, although she generally would rather let me go unrestrained than listen to me scream, cry, and yell. How times have changed!

Another thing that struck me was that if I had ever thrown a tantrum like that, especially at that age, my dad would have really given me something to cry about. And if I had said the word “fuck” in front of him, particularly at that age, there would have been a beating. I’m not exaggerating about that. My dad hated swear words, even though he spent over 20 years in the Air Force.

Bill once made him turn seven shades of red when he explained the expression “Charlie Foxtrot” to him. Dad was unaware that it was a euphemism for “cluster fuck”. Bill whispered, “You know, Sir… ‘cluster fuck’.” My father looked like he was going to pass out right there on the spot. I think he didn’t like swearing because his father cursed a lot, and my dad didn’t have a good relationship with his dad. So anytime someone cursed– even my mom– he’d get uncomfortable or even upset. And unfortunately, I have always enjoyed cussing, so I sometimes got in trouble for dropping four letter words. Dad would usually respond in a physical way or lecture me about how unladylike/unrefined/”lazy” cursing is. (I don’t agree that it’s any of those things, and I don’t let men tell me what to do anymore. I have a great vocabulary. I simply enjoy cussing.)

When he was angry, my dad could be very scary. His face would turn beet red and he’d lose control. Then he’d take out his rage on my tender ass. I remember one time, I said “Hey! You! Shut the **** up!” and he was in the next room. It was something I’d heard on TV and I thought it was funny. I hadn’t even said the word “fuck” , and he came over and knocked me upside the head. Then he yelled at me, causing me to want to keep saying “fuck” over and over again. I generally hated my dad when he disciplined me in that manner. Years later, I still deeply resent him for hitting me. The last time he did it, I was almost 21 years old. I told him if he ever laid a finger on me again, I would have him arrested for assault and battery. I meant it, too. Anyone who hits me now better kill me.

Them’s fightin’ words… better watch your step when you use them.

As you can see, I learned nothing from those discipline sessions. I still use the word “fuck” with wild abandon. I never understood why it was such a big deal not to use it. I think most “taboo” words are stupid. Yes, it’s important not to use language to hurt other people, but by and large, they’re mainly just words. I’m much more concerned about the intent behind using certain words than I am the words themselves. The child in the above video said the word “fuck”, but it didn’t come across to me that she was being truly hateful. She was simply annoyed by her little sister’s outburst. She probably didn’t even know what “fuck” means.

This is what Bill says to me…

I think if I were that girl’s mom, I might have her look up the word “fuck” and use it properly in a sentence. Then, I’d tell her to be more careful about when and where she uses that word, and consider whether or not it’s the word she really wants to use in any given situation. Because… when it comes down to it, some words are “fightin’ words”, and if you use them in the wrong place or in front of the wrong person, you could really come to regret it. On the other hand, I say this not as a mother myself. As irritated as that mom sounds as her other child is filming, I give her credit for not exploding. She seems upset at first, but then calms down and drives the girls home, even though the younger child is still freaking out. Some might debate whether or not she should have kept driving during the girl’s fit, but my guess is that the mom just wanted to be in her home, rather than a hot car. I also wonder if she knows all of this is on the Internet for the world to see.

And this is my response.

Looking on YouTube, I see that there are a lot of videos of children having tantrums. I guess some people are amazed by them and start filming, then can’t resist sharing them with the world. It makes me glad YouTube didn’t exist when I was a small child, although I’ll admit, sometimes tantrum videos are fascinating, funny, and/or disturbing. Personally, I think it’s very risky to share such things online, but that’s probably because of my social work training.

I do think that tantrums need to be addressed in children, although it’s best to do that when the parent is somewhat calm. Otherwise, the child can grow up to behave like this woman…

There’s no telling what led up to this outburst… It was widely publicized a few years ago and I think I read that these two eventually broke up.

I wonder what led this guy to film his wife. I guess she had a habit of freaking out like this, because otherwise, why would he be prepared? He thinks it’s funny, which, of course, makes things much worse. On the other hand, I can’t blame him for laughing at his wife because she does look and sound ridiculous. As I wrote the other day, when someone is making a scene, it’s not the calm one who is going to be stared at and judged. And that’s certainly true in this case, although I’m sure some people probably think the guy is a jerk for filming his wife and laughing at her. God bless him, though…

This behavior in me would probably prompt Bill to shop for ballgags. Fortunately, I did eventually outgrow tantrums, even if I never outgrew swearing. Either way, I prefer swearing to physical violence.

Standard
musings

“Aw fuck!” Our own private Soup Nazi…

Yesterday afternoon, we decided to stop in to our local Cajun and Creole restaurant. I wrote a somewhat PG rated version of that story on my travel blog. Here’s the more R rated version of the tale.

A few months ago, I discovered a wonderful Cajun/Creole restaurant near our new town. It was a Saturday afternoon and we were looking for lunch, but it was almost time for the traditional “pause”, during which restaurants close before dinner. I got on Google and found this place near our house that had cuisine I’d not yet found in Germany. Better yet, almost all of the reviews of the food were glowing and appeared to be mostly written by people from my homeland.

So we went and proceeded to have the most wonderful lunch. The proprietor is a black man I’ll call “Ron” who has a very colorful personality and swears a blue streak. He’s an American military veteran from New Orleans and not only does he have mad cooking skills, but he’s also got great taste in music. He always plays old school R&B and New Orleans jazz. He also hosts guest musicians sometimes, although we haven’t yet been to any of his events because we’re always busy when they’re going on. For example, next weekend he’s doing a Mother’s Day brunch and will have live music. We can’t go, because we’ll be on our way back from Stuttgart. If we weren’t going to be out of town, I would definitely consider booking a table just for the music. I’ve seen videos he’s shared on Facebook.

Since that day in February, Bill has been back a couple of times to get takeout. He says Ron always asks about me. The first time Bill picked up food, I didn’t go because Arran was sick. The second time, I didn’t go because the weather was yucky and I wanted to hibernate. Then, in April, Ron went to New Orleans for the whole month. We missed him and his food, so yesterday, we decided to have lunch at his place again.

Right after I discovered Ron’s restaurant, I read a few more reviews on Facebook, Google, and Yelp. Most of them were very positive. But then I saw a couple of comments from women who had visited and had “strange” experiences with the owner. In fact, I’ve seen several reviews in which people wrote of being “cussed out” by Ron for criticizing his cooking, not making a reservation for parties larger than four, bringing children, and moving tables and/or chairs when they hadn’t gotten permission to do so.

Yesterday, when we walked into the restaurant, there were already two parties there. We saw Ron stick his head out of the kitchen. He was scowling a bit. Nevertheless, we were invited to sit down, so we did. I decided to have the special of the day. Bill went with spare ribs, which I’ve had and enjoyed a couple of times. I have not found any other place in Germany where this kind of cuisine is available, although it probably exists somewhere. It’s probably not as good, though.

While we were sitting there listening to music and drinking hefeweizen, there came a sudden explosion of profanity. We heard a male voice from the kitchen boom, “Aw fuck! These pommes aren’t done yet! All of this shit is already plated!”

There was some more banging and random cussing, then another explosion of profanity, when we heard someone yell “Motherfucker!”

I winced and looked at Bill. Bill looked at me. We looked at the other patrons, who sat there quietly cringing as the swearing tirade continued. I kind of shrugged and smiled at the German lady sitting in the corner, who appeared to be rather non-plussed. The very sweet waitress standing behind the counter looked a little embarrassed, but said nothing. I got the feeling she might be a family member and had heard this many times before.

Another male voice said, “What’d I do! What I do?”

“If you want to leave, there’s the door! Get the fuck out!” the first voice boomed again.

A couple of minutes later, Ron came out of the kitchen with my lunch, which he tried to deliver to the wrong table. I said, “I think that’s for me.” He stalked over to me and set down the plate, then got Bill’s ribs. I guess it was his potatoes that had thrown a wrench in the works.

Then, he noticed the couple sitting in the corner. They were finishing up their lunches, having had the day’s special– po’ boys– and drinks. Ron asked them if they were just sitting there, not eating any food, like he was outraged. But they’d already eaten and were getting ready to leave. It was kind of a bizarre scene, although the couple was smiling as they left.

The food was, as usual, excellent. I couldn’t finish and asked for my leftovers to be packed up. Ron inquired about how I liked the food. It was great, and I told him so. In fact, his restaurant is the only place I’ve ever been to where I not only take home my leftovers, but I also order something to go for later. It really is delicious, although I am not an expert on Cajun cooking at all. I’ve had his gumbo and liked it, but I am not a gumbo aficionado. His wings and shrimp are always outstanding, though. So are his ribs.

I get the sense that maybe he might have a little PTSD going on… if not from being in the military, then maybe from being in the restaurant business. I used to work as a waitress and, for many years after I stopped, I had “waitmares”. Those are the nightmares one has about being “in the weeds”. Believe me, I’ve been there many times, and witnessed more than a couple of chef meltdowns. I’ve had a few meltdowns myself. This was probably the first time I ever heard a profane tirade of the kind Ron produced yesterday. He was visibly nervous when we walked in and was responding in a way that suggested he was under too much pressure. It was bizarre, because the restaurant wasn’t full and we weren’t in a hurry. Nobody else seemed to be, either.

Later, when a group of six showed up, the waitress was about to turn them away, explaining that parties larger than four must have a reservation. But Ron seemed to have calmed down at that point, so they were allowed to sit down. While Bill and I were waiting for our take out order, Ron had a discussion with one of the women in the party. It turned out she’d called him about making a reservation for ten people, but then never confirmed. He didn’t swear at her, but made it very plain that reservations are essential for larger groups. I was glad they got there after his outburst in the kitchen, since they had a small child with them who probably doesn’t need to hear such language.

I read another review in which a couple was cussed out and rudely invited to leave because they mentioned that their gumbo didn’t have okra in it. Another woman wrote that he’d called her an asshole for bringing a group of seven without reservations. And we’ve also read other posts like mine, in which the food was highly praised, but the cussing and berating of employees was not.

The Soup Nazi. Our local restauranteur is kind of like him.

I was never a Seinfeld fan, but Bill used to watch that show religiously. His favorite episode is the one about the Soup Nazi. I haven’t actually seen the episode myself, but I’ve heard it described many times. Ron didn’t cuss out any guests yesterday and, in fact, was nice to us, once we were enjoying the food. He even beamed when I told him we’d missed him and said he had a great time in New Orleans. However, I’ll admit to being rather uncomfortable listening to him verbally abuse his employees.

Actually, reading about other people’s experiences reminds me of a certain “Mexican” restaurant in Stuttgart, where people regularly complained about being yelled at or kicked out for infractions like bringing children, trying to split checks, or complaining that the food isn’t authentic. That restaurant is run by a South African guy who lived in California for awhile. I had heard so many horror stories about it that Bill and I decided to try it, just to see if the stories were true. Naturally, we had a perfectly fine dinner there and, in fact, that proprietor did a shot of tequila with us and invited us back. But as he was explaining the reviews, he said that he preferred catering to running a restaurant. He doesn’t like having to take “all comers” and admitted to having a short temper. It wasn’t long after that that he moved his restaurant again. We never did get a chance to go back there before we left the area.

At this point, I’m not sure what to think about our local “Soup Nazi”. We really do enjoy the food and music, and the wait staff is always pleasant. We even like Ron, when he’s not yelling and cussing. I think if he ever cussed me out, I would definitely not be back for more. I can’t tolerate verbal abuse toward me and I don’t like hearing it directed at other people, particularly people who are trying to help. In fact, as much as I like Ron’s food, I wonder if I should support his business. I don’t like to encourage verbal abuse. But then, there just aren’t any restaurants like his around here. Makes me think I need a trip to the States or something.

Standard
complaints, rants

reddit is great for raging…

You’d think that someone like me would enjoy reading reddit, a site that bills itself as “the front page of the internet“.  I’m always looking for topics to write about and I love reading and writing a good rant.  However, aside from the occasional reference to reddit in news stories or forum posts, I don’t really frequent the site very often.

Somehow, I got hooked up to push notifications for reddit’s r/rant page, which is where people who need to vent their spleens go.  More than once in the past week or so, I’ve gotten a notification for a juicy ranting on reddit.  Unfortunately, the notifications always come when I’m in the middle of something else and I’m not fast enough to click the link before it disappears.  This morning, I finally clicked and found myself staring at a page full of glorious profanity.  I do enjoy a little profanity and, in fact, read a couple of my old posts from my Blogspot.  I will candidly admit that even I was a little shocked by my own use of foul language.  On the other hand, I’ve never been one to hide that I swear a lot.

My dad used to tell me that swearing was the mark of someone with a limited vocabulary and intelligence.  I disagree with that notion.  I happen to have a great vocabulary and, although some people may claim I say and do “dumb things”, actually, I don’t.  I don’t know where the idea comes from some people that I’m “dumb”.  Could it be my blondish grey hair?  Could it be because I giggle a lot?  Because I’m the youngest child in my family?  Because I’m a female?  Truly, I’m not a stupid person, and those who dismiss me as “stupid” are usually sorry later.

But anyway, the point is, I do cuss a lot.  And yet, even though I cuss, and sometimes even indulge in the “sin” of name calling, I do cringe a little when I read some of my more impassioned rants, like this one.  However, that particular post was also influenced by something offline which negatively influenced my mood.  I guess, when I’m outraged and indignant, it colors my writing, regardless of what causes the upset.

In any case, even though I swear a lot, I have to admit to being a little turned off by the cursing on reddit/rant.  Maybe it’s because a lot of the swearing came from insolent teenagers in the midst of a psychic meltdown.  Having been through the storms of adolescence myself, I don’t wish to relive them by reading profane rants written in Internetese.  Also, poor grammar and spelling are very irritating to me.  It’s like listening to a choir singing flat, which is also like nails on a chalkboard to my sensitive ears.  I don’t mind cussing if it’s done creatively and humorously, but when every other word is “fuck” or “goddamn”, it becomes boring in a hurry.

On the other hand, sometimes profane rants are hilarious… like this one.  Evidently, this poor soul tried durian fruit for the first time and wasn’t impressed.  One of the commenters described the distinctive (emphasis on stink) odor as “smelling like garlic, hot garbage and really stinky feet all at once.  The smell is so overpowering (and I ate it still partially frozen so it wasn’t at peak odor) that there’s really no separate taste that I could distinguish.  You’re just eating garlicky, hot garbage, foot-fruit.”

That’s quite a vivid description.  I don’t think I’ve ever tried durian fruit myself.  I do remember the Vietnamese bartender at Fort Belvoir once brought some in.  She said it tastes like pudding or custard, but before you can enjoy that, you have to get past the stench.  Most people probably won’t bother with it when they can have chocolate.

No… I think if you’re going to write a “fuck” filled rant, you should limit it to a funny topic like trying durian fruit for the first time.  Don’t write a rant like that about anti-vaxxers, which is a serious issue that puts a lot of innocent people at risk.  I mean, I get that it’s contentious and infuriating, but one or two fucks will be fine.  Your rant loses its impact when every other word is “fuck”.  And people do need to read and heed rants that call anti-vaxxers to task, especially since once almost eradicated diseases like measles and mumps are making a comeback and actually killing people.  Ditto for this rant…

I mean, what’s s/he trying to say, anyway?

I need to spend a few minutes reading some of these reddit rants, though.  They might remind me that, in the grand scheme of things, my problems are pretty small.  At least I’m not Lori Loughlin, right?  Looks like she could be headed to the big house before too long.  You know things are pretty bad when Abby Lee Miller from Dance Moms is offering unsolicited prison survival tips.  Of course, they were directed at Felicity Huffman, who is pleading guilty to her part in the “Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal and could also very well be off to jail before too long.  But Huffman is not in as much trouble as Loughlin and her husband apparently are.  Hell, maybe they’ll rant on reddit, too.  Bonus points if they cuss a lot.

Standard
silliness

“Oh, for God’s sake, shut up and go shit in your hat!”

Back in 1995, I happened to read Kitty Kelly’s unauthorized book about former first lady, Nancy Reagan. I found it in one of the libraries run by Americans in the Republic of Armenia, either at the U.S. Embassy or the Peace Corps office. I wasn’t particularly interested in Nancy Reagan as much as I was dying to read something in English. As I was reading about the 40th president’s wife, I came across a passage about Ronald Reagan and his first wife, the late actress Jane Wyman. I knew of Ms. Wyman from watching her play Angela Channing on the 80s era nighttime soap, Falcon Crest.

Evidently, Ms. Wyman got annoyed with Reagan, who was yammering on about something boring when he was president of the Screen Actor’s Guild. Wyman, who had grown tired of his tedious talk, shouted in frustration, “Oh, for God’s sake, Ronnie, shut up and go shit in your hat!” By contrast, Reagan’s second wife, Nancy Reagan, was famously adoring of her husband and listened to every word he spoke with reverence and devotion. While Ms. Wyman was probably saying what everyone else was thinking, and what she said may have even been something Reagan needed to hear, it was Nancy Reagan who soothed her husband’s ego. They were married for many years. Did Nancy Reagan truly enjoy listening to her husband drone on? It’s hard to tell.

I never watched The Sopranos. Maybe it’s time I did.

For some reason, I was thinking of that passage this morning. It made me laugh when I read it the first time, and it still does now. I like that expression, “Go shit in your hat.” Maybe I’ll start saying that instead of the shorter, but more common and less colorful, “Fuck off.” Seems to me that “go shit in your hat” is a saying with lots of age and history behind it, but I never hear people saying it. Maybe it’s time to bring back that expression, even though not everyone wears hats these days. If they did, can you imagine them taking a dump in one? The mental image makes me giggle.

I did buy a new hat a couple of days ago. In 2017, I bought Bill this awesome charcoal grey flat cap from Aran Sweater Market. I’ve admired it ever since; it looks adorable on him, and he gets many compliments on it. I bought myself a blue suede flat hat in Ribeauville, France, although it was made by a German company. I don’t wear it very often, though. In a fit of loneliness and shopping compulsion, I bought a sweater, a wrap, and one of those Irish wool flat caps for myself, only the one I bought is blue. Blue is my color. I may not wear it often enough for people to tell me to go shit in it, though. In fact, I might end up giving it to Bill, since he’s balding and needs hats more than I do.

Right now, I’d like to tell several specific people to go shit in their hats, just so I can see the undoubtedly shocked and dismayed expressions on their faces. Some of them obviously have no problem verbally abusing and insulting me. Why shouldn’t I respond in kind? I’d like to be one of those saintly people who just forgives and forgets every slight. I’d like to pretend I’m Buddha, who doesn’t react when a person comes at me with anger and disrespect. Instead of accepting the insults and taking them to heart, I’d like to simply stand there blankly, or maybe with a serene smile on my face. Alas, I was not built that way. People who are shitty to me incur my wrath. So maybe it’s time I started saying “in your hat” to them.

Apparently, “in your hat” is a more polite way of saying “go shit in your hat.” I read on the Straight Dope messageboard that back in the 30s, actors weren’t even allowed to say “in your hat” in a movie, because it was deemed indecent, even without the words “go shit” before it. That seems kind of laughable today, doesn’t it?

Anyway, I won’t shit in my hat or yours… but I might suggest it to other people. I know the person with whom I’d most like to start… But I probably won’t, because deep down, I’m a fucking lady.

So what do you think? Is it me?

Standard