Hamburgers & Dirty Words

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m going to tell you a story.


It should come as no surprise that I’m doing so.  One of the reasons why you come here to your favorite site on the whole worldwide web is to ensconce yourself in the elaborate web of bull that I pride myself on dishing out on any given day.


You’re hanging on every single word.  I just know it.


So the story I’m going to tell you has come to me via two different sources, at two different times, on two different channels of my standard cable package.  I can only remember one specific source where I heard the story, but I can’t remember the other show I was watching which recounted the same story.


All in all, I could take a trip out to the almighty internet to verify the recounting.


But I don’t want to.


There’s only so much truth that can be dealt here without losing a certain level of bull sufficient enough to keep your attention.


A really long time ago, founding members of the ancestry of your favorite blogger on the worldwide web were involved in various skirmishes between the British empire and any one of the small countries in northwestern Europe which fell pray to an imperial mentality of the United Kingdom.  At least I think some of my lineage would have been impacted by those skirmishes.  White seems to go back pretty far in my family, and a lot of that particular shade came from that region.


In this particular story, I believe it was Scotland that takes a starring role in this story.  Once again, don’t bother doing a fact check on this one.  I’m here to dazzle you with brilliance and baffle you with bull.  Screw the facts for now.


It seems that during the armed conflicts between the Scots and the Brits, the side which was clad in kilts had some good archers.  In order to mitigate their own losses and battlefield casualties, the Brits would capture the archers and liberate the fingers from each of their right hands in what I can only guess was the most painful of manners.  This would render our kilt clad snipers useless with the bow.


I just remembered the other source where I heard this story.  It was a podcast.


As the story goes, the issue of the fingerless archers became a battle cry issue for the Scots.  Here in Texas, we have the Alamo.  The Scots had their missing digits.  For those archers who had not been captured and subsequently de-digitized, they would hold their middle fingers to the Brits in the middle of the battlefield and yell “Pluck yew!”.  This was in reference to bows being made from a yew tree.


Hundreds of years later, the extension of the middle finger has survived come out on top as the gesture of choice, however the phrase has been altered in its pronunciation, and subsequently gotten itself elevated to the mother of all cuss words.


Words which George Carlin once designated as not being suitable for network television have gradually made their way into the airwaves in the last 20 years, however one of them specifically hasn’t.  As we’ve learned, that word was derived from some surly Scots which managed to keep their fingers intact at an otherwise stressful time.


So I told you that story to tell you this one.


At some point in my youth, I developed an affinity (at least I thought it was) for swearing.  Whereas I could get away with saying just about anything around the house (kinda), there was one word that was off limits and not to be uttered.


Since I wasn’t a Scottish archer who had earned his right to utter the mother of all curse words, that particular one was off limits.


That, and Mom didn’t like the word at all.  If the word ever did slip or get said out loud, direct and immediate feedback was provided by Mom in one of two ways.  The most common response was for her to deliver a focused, direct glare at you which was so intense that it could knock a squirrel off of a fence at 50 feet.  When you got the glare, you knew that your best chance to get out of the situation alive was to apologize immediately, prepare a first fruits offering, avoid eye contact, and then hope your remaining days on God’s green Earth would extend past bedtime.


The other way was for her to deliver a simple, two word message which indicated that you had just obtained a very high position on her fecal roster, and you were just another poor word choice away from the rest of your life being efficiently mitigated.


“That’s one.”




If Mom was counting on you like that, you certainly didn’t want to follow up with a “That’s two.”  All things being equal, I don’t think I ever pushed it to three.


*massages scarred psyche*


It’s a safe assumption all these years later that the reason I don’t publish that particular word on your favorite site on the whole worldwide web has something to do with being on the receiving end of Mom’s dislike for that word.


So I told you that story to tell you this one.


Shortly after moving to Texas, Mom came down here from Wyoming to visit yours truly.  At one point, we were driving around Houston one afternoon trying to figure out where to go get some vittles.


As we drove through the neighborhood, I spied a squirrel crossing the street about 50 feet ahead.  “Hmmmm,” I wondered to myself.  “I wonder if I can take that squirrel out before he crosses the street.  That would be good for 50 points at least.”


“I want to go eat something I can’t get back home.”  Mom said.  I knew just the place.  There was a burger joint that had been introduced to me upon my arrival in Houston, and they were good.  Mom liked a good burger.


“Fuddrucker’s makes a pretty good burger.  How about that?”  Up ahead, the squirrel in the street which had been acquired in the gun sights of the Malibu I was driving killed over right there on the man-hole cover.  “Odd.” I thought.



I looked over to Mom to see if she had seen what the squirrel just did.  The look on her face informed me that a massively profane faux pas (bitchen’ Latin phrase in italics) had just been committed.


“Whoah, whoah.  I said ‘Fuddrucker’s’.  It’s a real name.  It’s not what you think I said.”


So just to summarize, a poor squirrel died at the hands of someone other than me one day in Houston in the late 80’s, all because some Scots rebelled against England’s imperial machinations hundreds of years ago.  The fact that the details of the reported battlefield incidents are suspect is completely immaterial.


A squirrel died, dagnabbit.

Randy Tharp

TharpSter is a husband to one woman, a father to two kids, a master to two dogs, an occasional cubical occupant, and unable to make up his mind on an adequate theme for this website.

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