Friday, March 27, 2015

On Swearing and Bean Poles

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origninally posted on Pink Stone Days 3/4/2011

Son of .... Speculating on Lines from the Movie Rango

So, my son and I went to see Rango this afternoon. We took one of his friends with us. The film was cute: great characters, classic western plot, clever animation (I mean sand and snake movements... mighty!). There was this one line when a character was being carried off  during battle and the character yells, "Son of a b....." Well, when the boys got back to the car that was the topic of conversation.
"Son of a ....What do you think he says?" asks boy number 1.
"Hmm... I don't know. It sort of sounded liked Son of a b, b, b... there was a b sound there, " my son answers.
"But I think it ended in 'vole' or 'volt.' Maybe it's like someone we all hate that ends in 'vol.'"
"Like Voldemort?"
"No! A real person, like the devil."
I could see where this was coming from. I mean they do go to a Lutheran school after all, but I could also feel myself starting to crack--laughter seeping. "It's not the devil, but I can see why you might think that," I chimed in. "I know what it is."
"What is it?" they clamored from the back seat. "Son of a..., son of a... b...."
"Son of a BEAN POLE!" I blurt out.
"Son of a bean pole?" my son asks. "What's a beanpole?"

Swearing with everyday words reminds me of Shakespearean insults and my friend Jeroen. I met Jeroen when I was a sophomore in college. He lived above in me in the dorm. One weekend eight of us gathered to play trival pursuit. When a question didn't go Jeroen's way, he swore, "Sacapunta!"
"Did you just say 'sacapunta'," I asked having just met Jeroen and come off of 5 years of high school Spanish.
"I did."
"You just called him a pencil sharpener."
"Yes, I did, but shhh, no one else here knows... I also like to use SEMAFORO! (traffic light)"
Jeroen, raised in the Netherlands,  could have cussed in the five languages in which he was fluent, but instead he used everyday words. Sort of Shakespearean, don't you think?

So, I'm continuing the tradition I guess you could say. " What's a bean pole?" I'm always amazed at words we aren't born knowing. "Well, it can be 2 things: a stick holding plants up in the garden or a very skinny person."
"That doesn't sound like a bad word to me!" he asserts.
"Well, you know, there really aren't any bad words, just words that are used to mean or say bad things."

At this point on our drive home my eyes are watering, and I just suppress a gasp--I can cover myself with the allergies excuse if need be, but you parents know I'm riding this straight face all the way home .

I manage until spilling the beans to my husband who leaves the office chuckling to go watch tv.
From  the family room not five minutes later I hear a, "Son of a beanstalk!"
"No Daddy, it's son of a beanpole!"


  1. So funny! And very clever. I like the idea of using ordinary as "swears." It solves some problems.

  2. Oh my goodness, Lee Ann, this is so funny. Dear little boys! Perhaps I can sneak in 'son of a beanpole' at school? My students will think thin that I'm really crazy (many think so anyway).

  3. I remember seeing Rango with my kids when it came out and thinking: This is like watching a Carlos Castenas' book about enlightenment via psychedelics unfolding as animation (or maybe Hunter Thompson) -- it was strangely entertaining and very odd ...

  4. This is wonderful! I remember (and retell) the stories of being told my son was using "inappropriate" words at daycare. It turned out he was just having trouble pronouncing bridge :)