Someone has been wiretapping my bathroom. And they've made a million bucks out of it.
The loo is my swearing refuge. It's where I run to when my nocturnally expressive child won't be pacified for the fiftieth time. Here no one judges me. Here no one picks up verbal weaponry for strategic deployment at effing playgroup.
I don't know who dunnit. It may have been Nixon's ghost attempting revenge, but acting on bad intelligence. It may have been the out of warranty gremlin in league with the crap evil spy agency.
However it happened, a transcript landed on a printing press and ventured onto the interwebs where it met with a shi*tstorm of approval.*
'Go the F**k to Sleep', written by Adam Mansbach and illustrated by Ricardo Cortes, is a bastardized version of 'Goodnight Moon'. It has topped the Amazon bestseller list, converting the previously pro bono medium of midnight bathroom effing and blinding into a fat golden goose.
The title is certainly more memorable than 'Mummy is crying in the loo again', which would have been my best shot. The illustrations are lovely, and the tone of wits end soothery is perfect:
The cubs and the lions are snoring, wrapped in a big snugly heap. How come you can do all this other great shit, but you can't lie the fuck down and sleep?I'm as much a fan of the f-bomb as the next sloppy underqualified parent. It is the English language's most versitile, most loaded, most easy to pronounce word (as once loudly demonstrated by my little brother in his first year of life).
The only way to swear worse than the f-bomb is to combine it with motherhood in the Hispanic world (then duck and cover), or to employ a certain C-word in North America. The latter is an amusingly mild word in Britain, which causes at least ten American tourists to lose their cool in London pubs each year. But they get even with 'fanny pack.'
Studies have shown that swearing is good for you. Naughty words release pent-up steam through your ears and through your reputation. My own research indicates that people who never swear stand a much greater chance of spontanious combustion.
As Penn and Teller show in their TV series 'Bullshit', substituting 'santa baca' for 'holy sh*t' voids the healthful benefits of swearing. If a word doesn't cause someone else to have a coronary, then it ain't good for your blood pressure.
|'Calm down mama. Maybe you should have the effing nap.'|
If this comes to be, what horrible curse will parents furiously whisper to the toilet at 4am when their babies won't sleep?** Will the spirit of George Carlin come to their assistance? Will there be a sudden spate of spontaneous bathroom fires? Perhaps parents will simply have to accept the new more socially accepted face of their old crutch word, take some deep breaths, and keep a bucket of water handy. Samuel L Jackson, previously a dabbler in great vengeance and furious anger, has peacefully taken this path. His audio version of the book that is really quite endearing.
Perhaps I'm only seeing the negative side of this exploding into flames business. The other day I spotted an ad on the underground for the latest mass market horrible murder mystery book. 'GET THE EXPLOSIVE NEW BESTSELLER!' it shouted at me in bold type. 'By this this guy,' it continued (I'm translating now), 'who wrote this other explosive bestseller last year and is now sipping champagne on a yacht.'
This caused me to pause and reflect. You see, I just punched a sample of my writing to this website, and it has confirmed my worst fear: I write like HP Lovecraft.*** Don't get me wrong: I love the master of weird fiction just as much as the next supernaturally-paranoid dork. The man conjured ancient demons from the sea, and vast subterranean evil in Antarctica, for eff's sake. But Lovecraft suffered from nightmares, chronic illness, poverty and an early death. He spent his short life hounded by mostly real humans and mostly made-up monsters.
So I am concerned. And I am starting to think maybe I should stop being such a fire-retardant grinch. Blowing up in flames or going broke seem to be the two available career paths in the effing world of words.
*My lawyer has pointed out that this particular f-bomb has been heavily augmented since I last verbalized it into the ether over my sink. She has advised me to say that I can't really take any credit here. Effing lawyers.
**Parents outside of Latin and North America that is, who are covered already for this eventuality, as mentioned above.
***I don't - the website is prone to flattery. For instance it doesn't include Dan Brown and Cormac McCarthy on the list of possible options.