I learned to swear on my mission. Before that, I was pretty bad at it. For example, once during a high school P.E. softball game, another kid got in my face about how badly I sucked at softball and I wanted so much to say something really menacing. Of course my old friend Tourette's kicked in. In the heat of the moment I couldn't decide whether to say, "I'm gonna tear off your head and spit in your neckhole," or "I'm gonna kick your a@@." I wound up saying "I'm gonna spit up your a@@hole." It wasn't very menacing.
(Speaking of Tourette's, a few months ago my mom had a cop over for Sunday dinner and thought it would be funny to tell him the story I am about to tell you. I nearly choked to death on my rosemary pork chop. Thanks mom!)
On my mission I heard plenty of swearing in Spanish. And since it was a foreign language to me, I found it entertaining rather than offensive. I even read a book called "Tradiciones en Salsa Verde" which was full of crass and humorous stories about South American history. Had it been written in English, I probably would have felt so guilty as to have met with my mission president for absolution, but in Spanish it was hilarious.
Now I frequently use Spanish expletives. I even use English ones sometimes. My favorite swear word of all is "Pinche". It's the most versatile cuss-word ever. You can use it in any sentence as an adjective. I use it in English sentences (usually directed to my wife) as a verb or as a noun too. For example I might say, "Quit peenching me!" To which she would reply, "You're the one that's being a peench!"
But my newfound hobby of swearing got me into a lot of trouble once. I was about twenty-three and my brother Tom and I were driving to class at BYU. I was driving my pre-restoration '63 Ford Galaxie. It was a huge piece of crap. As we turned left from Canyon Rd. toward campus, some lunatic made a sudden illegal U-turn and cut us off. We made an immediate right turn and continued on our way. Suddenly I saw flashing lights in the rear view. A Provo cop was pulling me over. Me? What about the lunatic?
I pulled over on Campus drive right between the JKHB and the Tanner building. It was class break and students were everywhere. Three (3!) BYU cops pulled up and turned their lights on too just to get in on the action.
"Do you know why I pulled you over?"
"The speed limit back there by the stadium is 30, I clocked you at 55."
"Does this car look like it can make a turn from a dead stop and reach 55 half a block later?"
"Don't get smart with me! Where's your license and registration?"
I handed over the documents and he took them back to his car.
About an hour and a half later he came back with the ticket for me to sign. Meanwhile the other cops were still there, lights still on! A million of my peers were milling about, probably wondering what heinous felony I had committed to get into such trouble. Tom sunk way down in his seat. Officer Webber told me to sign the ticket which I did. As he handed back my license and registration I said something like, "Next time, get the guy that made the illegal U-turn and cut me off, okay?"
He said, "You mean when you ran up onto the curb?"
"I never hit any curb! It's lucky that maniac didn't cause an accident!"
"You are the one who is a dangerous driver."
"Oh, F$#% You!"
Suddenly my door flew open and he grabbed me by the arm and started pulling me out of my car. "You're coming with me!" I fumbled with my license and wallet and tried to unbuckle my antique, airplane-style seat belt at the same time. When he was unable to immediately yank me out of the car the officer accused me of resisting arrest.
"How is it resisting arrest? I'm just trying to get out of my seatbelt, A##hole!"
That didn't go over too well either. He threw me up against my car america's-most-wanted style and slapped on the cuffs so tight they left a mark for two days. As I sat in the back of the patrol car he stood and laughed it up with the BYU cops. My poor brother Tom had only been home from his mission for a few weeks and was probably scared out of his mind. I'm sure he began a fast for my salvation right then and there. Luckily for me they let him drive my car home.
I got arrested on Valentine's day. That night I had a special date with Del Parson's daughter Sara. (That's right, Del Parson the famous Mormon painter.) She was cool. I say "was" because when I used my one phone call to tell her I wasn't going to make it on account of being in jail, the relationship ended abruptly. I thought it was a romantic gesture on my part, but unfortunately we didn't see eye to eye.
After getting booked, fingerprinted, mugshotted (yes, I made up that word), and having my personal effects confiscated, I was thrown into a holding area with other dangerous criminals. One was a burned-out stoner who kind-of looked like Mallory's boyfriend Nick on Family Ties. He seemed harmless and not nearly as scary as the wierd eighteen-year-old watching Maury Povich in the corner so I made the best of a bad situation and used a line I never expected I'd have the opportunity to use.
"What are you in for?"
"Aw man, the F@#*ing cops busted in my F@#*ing door at F@#*ing three in the G**Damn morning man! They just barged in and busted up my whole F@#*ing meth lab! They took me away in their F@#*ing cars with the sirens on and everything! They're gonna lock me up for 20 years, man. Mother F@#*ers!"
Then he turned to me and asked, "What are you in for?"
"I said the F word."
He stared at me for a moment, incredulous. Then he said, "To a cop?!"
"Aw man!" he exclaimed, "That's bad!"
Pinche officer Webber.