Double Standards

November 24, 2009


One of the best things about the recent ban on swearing prompted by the fact that The Baby is making unintelligible sounds that The Mushroom thinks are words is the fact that my Dad and The Mushroom can’t swear at each other any more. My Dad and The Mushroom seem to have based their marriage on their ability to insult each other, in jest, they claim, all day long. This has led to the regular use of the word ‘turd’, as in, ‘You snivelling little turd’, which I rather liked, actually, although my Dad, who was on the receiving end of this phrase, seemed less keen.

Is ‘turd’ less offensive, I wonder, than its crasser counterpart, ‘shit’? My Dad made a case for keeping ‘shit’ in the family vocabulary, but he was unsuccessful.

“I was thinking, shit-”

“Stop swearing.”

“‘Shit’ isn’t a swear word.”

“Yes it is.”

“No, it isn’t.”

“Would you say it at an interview?”

My Dad pauses. “Yes.”, he answers.

The Mushroom stares at him. My Dad stares back. They want to smile. They cannot, as the first one to do so would clearly lose. “Would you say it at an interview for a job you wanted to get?”

My Dad sighs. “I like the word ‘shit’.”

“Well, I like drinking Mojitos at lunchtime, but I can’t do that anymore, so shut up, turd head.”

The ban on swearing does not, however, extend to when The Mushroom is in a bad mood like, for example, when she discovered that no shop in the nearest town sold millet or, in actual fact, had heard of millet. Then, she’s allowed to say ‘Bollocks bollocks bollocks!” very loudly.

It appears that her plan was to smash some millet up and hide them in burgers because apparently millet is  a superfood. You learn something new every day. I was fairly certain that millet was chicken feed, but I’m happy to be proved wrong. The look on my Dad’s face when he was faced with his millet-free burgers was palpable.

“And that is why we should always go shopping together”, he said, “So you can never attempt to buy millet without my knowledge.”

Well, she can hardly go shopping without you, I thought, as she doesn’t drive and the nearest supermarket is, I would wager, about a three day’s walk away.  It would appear, though, that my Dad should also never, ever go shopping without The Mushroom.

“So, I’m going to make shepherd’s pie tomorrow”, she said, still keen on thinking she can cook. (Yesterday, she made scones. You’d have thought she’d discovered time travel. ‘Look! Look! They look like scones!’, she cried, dangerously waving her oven gloves about. My Dad looked pleased. What he didn’t know, but soon found out, is that The Mushroom had tried to hide oats in them. Oats are also, it would seem, a superfood. And she also made them with the strange combination of apple and cheese. You know who loved them? Fluffy Usurper. Weirdo). “Did you get the minced lamb?”

My Dad was unpacking the groceries from his solo shop. “Kinda.”

“Oh, did you just get lamb and we have to mince it ourselves?”

“Nope.”, he fished inside one of the bags, and, with a flourish, proudly presented her with a cellophaned packet of meat. “I got you minced BISON.”

The Baby stopped stacking her bricks. Fluffy Usurper looked up from his game of ‘hide from The Baby’. The Mushroom looked aghast. My Dad continued to grin.

“Bison? Bison? As in, Buffalo?”

“Yes!”

“Buffalo? Minced Buffalo? In a pie? With mashed potato on top?”

“It is apparently, a very lean meat.”

“It’s not a frigging shepherd’s’ pie, though, is it. It’s a cowboy pie.”

“Strictly speaking, love, that would be beef, which would be a Cottage Pie-”

“Oh shut up. Bison. Bison pie. Blimey.”

“I bought you a scarf, though!”

And a very nice scarf it is too.

Surely Bison Pie is no worse than Millet Burgers? (I remember the first time The Mushroom cooked for my Dad. They had not been together that long. She made burgers then, too. She was, however, quite drunk, and the bulb in the kitchen had gone, so when she put in ‘a pinch’ of Montreal steak seasoning, she actually put in about 250 grams. Montreal steak seasoning is made mostly of salt. My Dad really wanted to marry her, though, so he ate them. And then he was a little bit unwell.) The rules for my Dad are different from the rules for The Mushroom. If my Dad leaves his dirty shirts anywhere other than inside the washing machine, The Mushroom explodes like he’s smeared excrement around the kitchen. If my Dad mentions that it might be nice to open the laptop and not find smeared banana all over the keyboard, The Mushroom snaps something about ‘being really busy’ and ‘not having the time to do everything’, slams a few drawers and then makes a massive deal out of cleaning it. How can someone be too busy to either a) eat a banana AWAY from the laptop, b) wash their hands after eating said banana or c) just give it a quick wipe? How about this for a suggestion, Mushroom – PUT THE BABY DOWN. Just for, like, a minute. She can walk. She can entertain herself. She has all the plastic in Saskatchewan on the living room floor. Let her pick up Fluffy Usurper by the tongue or something, and just give that laptop a quick clean. This affects me, you see. It gets on my paws and the only way I can get it off is by licking them, and I frigging hate the taste of banana.

I’m going to have to think of a way of making Fluffy Usurper lick my paws clean. There have to be some benefits to having a kitten in the house. He keeps following me around, making his, ‘Look! Look at ME! I’m a kitten all fluffy and cute! Look at ME!’ face. I do look at him. I look at him, and then I slap him. And he still follows me around.

Ooh, I think I can smell bison cooking…

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