Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Trick or Treat
I don't know exactly how old I was, but little enough to be amused playing a make believe game of Trick or Treat alone in the family room.
With my plastic, jack-o-lantern bucket in hand, I went door-to-door (couch to end table to coffee table and so on), knocking on invisible doors, buzzing non-existent doorbells.
At each stop, I would go through the prescribed routine with the pretend hostess, begging for unseen candy with the customary “Trick or Treat,” reciting my lines with my most authentic baby talk, “Twick or Tweat.”
I went about my expedition without incident until I arrived at the rocker-recliner house.
The generous, but transparent lady who answered the door offered a choice of candy, “What would you like little girl?”
Still in character, the baby talk babbled from my lips, “I want a sucker.”
Of course, the defining quality of 'baby talk' is that the words aren't spoken clearly or precisely. In fact, sometimes sounds are substituted for other sounds. For instance, sometimes an 's' might come out sounding like a 'th'. But in this scandalous instance, the 's' was substituted with an 'f'.
My mother shot into the family room as if catapulted from the kitchen, her finger wagging. “Don't you ever say that again,” she reprimanded in a loud, screech.
Shocked out my shoes, I spun in a panic, facing her rabidity.
What had I said? What was I to do? How was I to ask for a sugary, hard candy on a stick? Lollipop was an awfully big word for such a little girl. And Tootsie Pop was far too specific. Stifled.
Eh, 's'uck it, just give me the candy cigarettes.
It was several more years until I grasped an understanding of profanity sufficient to recall this episode and reason out what I had uttered – to the great horror of my mother.
I, however, take a depraved pleasure in its prediction of my irreverent future – the mother of all curse words, it turns out, is one of my favorite words to say – the sweet confection of it rolling off my tongue. The taffy-like pull of it. The appeal of its Everlasting Gobstopper assortment of flavors. I'd almost go so far as to call it 'ear candy' but that might be 'Dum Dum'.