^Dramatic Representation of My Mother's Fight Against Swearing
And then, I remembered.
It had a black dot next to its title.
My mother loved Columbo. (She still does; she's not dead. It's just that I'm speaking about the past right now.) She owned all the seasons on DVD and encouraged all of her children to appreciate Peter Falk's perfection. However, as with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, we were not allowed to watch episodes with black dots next to them. This meant there was something terribly, terribly inappropriate in them (probably someone saying "darn it," but not exactly that -- if you now what I'm saying heh heh [I am the most non-swearing person to ever exist (besides my mum, of course)]).
Apparently, after all these years, I had still never seen it.
These musings, of course, got me to thinking about other ingenious ways my mother chose to protect her children from the dangers of the outside world.
Well, reading was a bit of problem. But, not too big a problem for my mother, of course!
When I was young, my mum read books out loud to my siblings and I for usually around an hour a day. This is how I first was introduced to Dickens, Austen, Indian in the Cupboard, and all the other greats.
Unfortunately, great literature occasionally has horrible language. How could my mum get around this?
Simple. She just substituted the obscene language for appropriate words.
However, she was never quite quick about it. I mean, she would be rolling along quite nicely -- and suddenly, there would be a long pause and, "darn," "what the heck," or "I'm a jack-- er, donkey."
And, if she assigned us reading on our own with less-than-savory wording included, it was not uncommon to find carefully sharpied spots with alternate words written in. (All this did was lead to all of us holding pages to the light, trying to figure out what was really written.)
And, speaking of sharpies, I recall having a picture book about Columbus -- and many of the Native Americans had lovely pairs of shorts. Apparently, the ancient Egyptians wore similar uniform outfits, because that's what one found in the E pages of the World Book Encyclopedia.
Then, there was television. My younger siblings and I loved Amazing Race, but weren't allowed to watch it as it aired, because of possible bad language. Instead, my mother would watch it on Sunday night and tape it on VHS. And then, on Monday morning, she would watch it again while she exercised. As she watched, she carefully recorded over any swearing. And by carefully, I mean that everyone swear word was heard very clearly and then followed by thirty seconds of blue screen.
My mother had a similar remote difficulty when it came to commercials. We would be watching something as a family, the commercials would start and we all got to busily ignoring them -- paying zero attention to the screen. But then, a Victoria's Secret ad would show up. We were all still deeply paying attention to anything but the TV screen, but that didn't phase my mum. Instead of maybe changing the channel using the remote, she would jump up --screaming, "AHHH! DON'T LOOK!"-- and throw herself --arms out-stretched-- in front of the TV.
Then we all looked up.
And, I definitely have dozens of other examples of mother's valiant battle against culture, but I think these are enough to give a flavor of my mumzie. However, she has gotten way chiller in later years. My youngest brother is 13, and he actually gets to go see PG-13 movies. When I was 13, it meant that it was time to watch PG movies. PG-13 was the rating given to bad movies. And R was a mythical rating that only heathens watched.
Anyway, I appreciate all of my mother's efforts; because, while they weren't always necessarily successful, they did teach me to be discerning and intentional about my life and my choices.
And I still don't swear.
And, occasionally, I have the desire to draw neat, little sharpie outfits onto people in my textbooks.
(Even though you --rather hypocritically-- definitely taught me to say "bloody," and it causes much shock and horror to my friends/co-workers of British and/or Canadian origins.)