I was a self-righteous bastard when I was a kid. I believed that as a Protestant, I had the right religion. I once told the only Jewish boy in our neighborhood that he was stupid for not believing in Jesus. (I still feel guilt to this day for doing that.) As for my Catholic friends, they ran away when I started digging for buried treasure. They said that it was wrong for me to dig because I would reach Hell and Satan would escape. What a stupid religion that did not allow you to dig for buried treasure!
I believed I had the best daddy because my Daddy never said bad words. I would go to my friends’ houses and their fathers said words such as, “God dammit!” “Jesus Christ!” and “Shit!” Not my Daddy. He never said a bad word. I never boasted about my father not swearing, but I felt a strong sense of pride.
And then one day, the world ended. I heard my Daddy say, “God dammit!” He was building the back porch to our house and something happened that he did not like. I don’t remember what it was. I only remember how crushed I was because my Daddy swore.
“You swore!” I said. “You said a bad word!”
He turned and looked at me and his facial expression screamed, “Oh shit! I didn’t know that my kid was so close to hear me.”
“Yes,” he said, “I swore. I’m sorry, but I was mad.”
“But you swore! You swore!” How shocked I was.
“Yes,” he said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to.”
And then my self-righteous self told me to do the right thing. After all, such terrible behavior should not go unpunished.
“You said a bad word, and I’m telling Reverend Ferry!” And I ran up the street towards our church crying.
Reverend Allan H. Ferry was the minister at Davenport United Church. (It is now called Davenport-Perth Community Church.)
The last thing I remember is running up the street crying. Did I tell Reverend Ferry? I don’t remember.
I do remember thinking that my Daddy was still better than my friends’ fathers because my Daddy only swore once. My friends’ fathers swore all the time.
My father’s swearing increased as I got older. He swore all the time. I don’t blame him. I would swear, too, if I had a self-righteous bastard as my kid.