With an unexpected slice of good weather sneaking in last week, my family and I elected to visit our fine city beach for an afternoon.
The water was cold and the level of the lake was high — narrowing the sandy portion of the beach considerably. Still, we were able soak up some sun and enjoy a wholesome good time. Until …
We had staked out a small spot and were tossing around a Frisbee with unnatural flair and dexterity. Suddenly, a war or words erupted around us. A woman with a little girl, maybe 4 or 5, on one side. An extended family with a child or two of similar age on the other.
I’m not sure of the history of the combatants, or who provoked who, but it went something like this:
“Yeah, you better keep walking you bleeping bleepity $%#!! skank!,” yelled one member of the family.
“%&!&!! you. I ain’t no bleeping bleepity $%#!! skank,” replied the woman, even louder. “She’s a bleeping bleepity $%#!! skank bleep!”
Is it OK for me to use the word skank in a family newspaper? Because, really, it was the most harmless part of the entire conversation, and I don’t want to replace every word with bleeps or punctuation marks.
“Go bleep yourself!”
“Bleep you, you bleepity, bleeping !#$?!!.”
“Listen to the mouth on that bleeping $#!&! What kind of bleeping mother talks like that in front of her bleeping #$!!# of a bleeping kid? Bleeping pitiful,” he said, patting junior gently on the head.
At which point I very nearly turned to the man and, in my best sophisticated British accent said: “Jolly good, old chap. I do appreciate the delightful irony in your bawdy repartee.”
Instead, I subtly shrugged my shoulders and continued tossing the Frisbee to my middle-school-age children. I’m not proud, but no matter what I did, they couldn’t unhear what had already been said.