Mind Your Language Update

Now for an update on the swearing episode. Not so much an excuse but more a humble explanation.

I refer back to a previous post – Mind Your Language. I now remember where I had used that classic Anglo Saxon phrase in front of my son.

About a couple of weeks ago I was walking with Dani in the street. A man crossed the road to our side carrying a brown paper bag. He made a beeline for us. I noticed this and was immediately cautious. When he reached us he offered the bag to Dani. He mumbled something in Spanish about it being a toy. I think he was saying that he had bought it and wanted to give it away to a child. I didn’t really make the effort to understand fully what he was trying to say I just told him “no”. But he was a little persistent. It was very odd and while it may be a little unfair to make snap judgments I just thought he was weird. There was definitely something wrong with the situation.

Remembering the old adage that you can’t be too careful in such circumstances I told him again but a little more sternly, “No gracias”, and ushered Dani down the street. Unfortunately he did not notice the increased agitated tone in my voice and again persisted, gesturing towards Dani with this bag.

That was enough for me. I looked him in the eye and told him angrily to “Fuck off!”.

Minding my language came a distant second. For me this was an instinctive reaction.

When you use that phrase a lot depends on the situation, the other persons involved and where you are. Depending on how you pitch it, that phrase can either have the desired effect or it can get you into a fight.

That phrase – while nominally English – is now universal of course. Maybe it was the way I said it but it had the desired effect in that particular case. He understood. Off he went in the opposite direction with his paper bag in hand. All a bit too bizarre for my liking.

As the comedian Billy Connelly famously once explained in one of his stand-up routines; there really is no other way of saying it sometimes. As he rightly said; it is certainly not ‘go away’ is it?

The down-side was that Dani had heard what I had said and that was irreversible. It was now in his rapidly expanding memory bank.

I am not suggesting that what I did was right, even given the odd nature of the event. On the other hand, I can’t promise that in a similar situation it won’t happen again. Being a dad is not all playtime and fun. There is a serious side to it and I believe that includes protecting your child especially in suspicious circumstances.

Meanwhile I really am trying to mind my language.

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