Warning: this post contains a censored expletive (repeated several times) and should probably be rated PG-13. You’ll even know which word I’m censoring. So maybe I should just leave it in, but I won’t.
Come back in time with me to about one month ago. The scene: a warm Nimule night, just after darkness has fallen. There’s still a little juice in our solar batteries, so some lights are on, and the children are enjoying running around and playing in the dark. I’ve just finished eating and am standing awkwardly outside, just kind of standing there.
*Enter Kasara, the boldest and most generally awesome 12-year-old on the face of the planet, along with the 6 or 7 other kids who follow Kasara everywhere she goes.*
*Kasara and her coterie play kind of unenthusiastically for about 2 minutes, and then…*
Me: Yes, Kasara.
Kasara: What is the meaning of @#%^ing?
Me: (unsure if I’ve heard correctly) Wait, what?
*The children in the background have been listening nonchalantly, for they too want to be enriched with this knowledge of the great English language. They now join in with Kasara.*
Child 1/Joyce: @#%^ing. What is @#%^ing?
Child 2/Jaclyn: Yes, what is the meaning of @#%^ing?
Me: Well, it kind of depends on the context…
*No, I didn’t actually say that – but it was the first thing I thought. What really happened was…*
Me: Um, well…in English that’s a really bad thing to say. You really shouldn’t say it, like ever.
*All the children lower their heads in shame.*
Kasara: Oh. Sorry.
Me: No, you’re not in trouble – you didn’t know what it means and were just asking a question. But it’s a really bad word.
Child 3/Kamau: What is, @#%^ing?
Me: Yes. Yes, that. Now that you know it’s a bad word, you shouldn’t say it anymore. If I hear you say it again then you will be in trouble. By the way, where did you hear…that word?
*What I’m really getting at here is, “you didn’t hear me say it, right?” but I can’t be that direct.*
Kasara: *mumbles something about hearing someone say it somewhere in the market*
Me: OK. (sigh of relief) Well, just don’t say it anymore.
If you enjoyed this story, you might also like the one about one child “injecting the anus” of another. Unfortunately, because it requires an explanatory hand gesture, it has to be told in person.