My parents, rest their much-missed souls, had some pretty stringent rules my siblings and I were expected to follow as we were growing up.
“Don’t torment your sister!“ was one I heard a lot. Torment my sisters? I would never! Would I pretend to touch my younger sister’s food? Sure, but, pretend. She hated the idea of me touching any of her things, especially something she was going to eat. So picky.
Would I insinuate my immature self into my older sister’s Beatles Fan Club meetings that were restricted exclusively to her and her junior high school companions? You bet. Even at just 10 years old, I had a raging case of Beatlemania.
Granted, I did all, if not most, of the snuggly little things that kids do to get a rise out of their siblings. But torment them? No. Did I waterboard any of them? No. Did I ever threaten to unleash a hungry dog, even on my stinky older brother? Never. Did I force my younger sister to stand uncomfortably for hours in a stressful position? Only once, when she was my Maid of Honor in my 1970s-era wedding. She should have known better.
To be fair, my parents never said, “Don’t grow up to be a big ol’ lesbian,” so technically no restrictive lines were crossed when that’s exactly what I did. If they were so dead-set against it, they should have spoken up when I had that big throbbing pre-pubescent crush on Cindy Martel.
Looking back, I now realize that many of the guideposts imposed by my parents had to do with language. Number one was to never take the Lord’s name in vain. Even “My gosh!” was frowned upon because gosh, as it was explained to me, was simply a blasphemous derivative of God. OK, I can live with that. Also, no damns. Fine, I got that, too. Damning is God’s job, not mine.
Our parents placed even more verbal restrictions upon us. Slang words for bodily functions were off-limits, too. My siblings and my youthful utterances of the boorish “fart” was replaced with the genteel “fitah”, as coined by our clever neighbors, the McGarveys. Piss was pee-pee. Even my saintly grandmother suppressed her obvious longing to shout “Shit!” on occasion, replacing the offensive word with “Shite!”
Using rude words for body parts was absolutely forbidden, too. “Ass” became “shigah” — another McGarvey-based gift. Even worse, calling someone a name based on a body part was forbidden without absolution. If one of us used the word “prick” we’d better be talking about a needle.
Of course, much of this verbal policing went right down the drain when I first began doing stand-up comedy, a period I call The Angry Years. Regardless, when it was widely reported earlier this month how former president Donald Trump chose to end a deposition facing attorney Roberta Kaplan, I was especially incensed.
At the end of this deposition at Mar-A-Lago, Trump tossed off a boorish bon mot — sans the bon part — to opposing counsel. “See you next Tuesday,” Trump said greasily to Kaplan. He has the best words, doesn’t he?
At the time, Kaplan thought the farewell salute was simply odd since they would not meet again until the following Wednesday. Then her staff explained exactly what Trump meant, that he’d called Kaplan a cunt.
Will someone please tell me how the heck (Hear that? That’s the sound of verbal restraint) this man was raised? Frankly, the whole thing pee-pees me off. What a shitehead Trump is. A total shigah-hole.
I’m all about freedom of speech. I’ve made a reasonable living depending on our First Amendment rights. And I’m not forgetting that Joe Biden recently said Trump is “a sick fuck.” But Biden said this privately among staff and friends, not in a formal, recorded judicial setting. So go have an ice cream, Joe. You deserve it.
So far, Kaplan has declined to return fire at Trump with the familiar rejoinder, “I know you are but what am I?” Because she’s an adult who has been busy with other things, like draining $83.3 million from him in another case — the one in which he was found liable for repeatedly defaming E. Jean Carroll about sexually assaulting her.
By the way, if Kaplan looks familiar, it might be because of another court case she famously helped win, a little 2013 Supreme Court skirmish that defeated the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). That victory opened the door to marriage equality becoming the law of the land in 2015. Don’t fuck with Roberta Kaplan. Sorry, Mom.
See you (in) November, Trump.