One (not so) easy word

I remember the first time I swore, and it was on a dare.

I grew up in a Catholic school. I was in grade eight attending St. Charles Borromeo school. I was fourteen. I was in a room with only a few class-mates and no teacher. I was getting ready to leave when Johnny and a few of his friends ambushed me when my friend Johnny dared me to say the word, “Fuck.”

He teased me when I wouldn’t say it immediately, “It’s one easy word,” he chuckled.

I remember looking around at the six, or was it seven, students standing around me with wide eyed expressions waiting for my reply. I hesitated then. It seems funny now, but at the time, I found it to be a conundrum.

My friend was getting quite a kick out of this; here I was determining if I could say one easy word, or not. Yeah, he got a good kick out of my hesitation.

During my pause, I began to reason to myself, “Is it really swearing, if I don’t mean the words?” I debated, yes-no, yes-no, until I made up my mind.

I finally said it, “Fuck,” I said ever so lightly.

“What,” Johnny asked, chuckling, “I didn’t hear you.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck, and fuck off,” I repeated, as I got louder with each iteration of the word.

The group was surprised that I would ever uttered the word, and then they started to laugh. I laughed along with them. Johnny pat me on the back as we all exited the classroom.

With one little word, I was part of the group, and not some perceived as a “goody-goody-two-shoes.”

It’s strange what comes to mind some days.
—Robert Confiant 1 February 2017 (mod 25 March 2018)

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