The Court of Mom

Rick Ryckeley's picture

Watch what you say. It can and will be used against you in the Court of Mom.

There is an old saying: “Think before you speak.” And like many old sayings, it provides sage advice. But over the years I’ve learned something extremely important. If you have to think about what you’re about to say, it’s probably in your best interest not to say it.

What’s the worst thing that could happen if you chose to say what’s on your mind anyway? Trust me, any repercussions at work will pale in comparison to what could happen to you if you say the wrong thing to your mom. Biting a bar of soap and getting your mouth washed out is something you want to avoid at all cost.

Growing up at 110 Flamingo Street, a week didn’t go by without one of us four boys being marched into the bathroom. When Mom deemed what we said to be a bad word, biting the bar of Ivory soap and getting our mouth washed out was our punishment. An action, I might add, that in today’s society should be outlawed. And when we switched from Ivory soap to that multi-colored Irish Spring, it could’ve been considered almost as bad as water-boarding.

In Old Ms. Crabtree’s third grade class, if you wrote something down, at least you had a chance to erase it before she saw it. Talking is different. Once you say the wrong thing, bad words can’t be taken back. You can’t eat words.

Unless of course they’re written down and you can’t erase them fast enough. Believe me, an entire sheet of notebook paper full of bad words, when crumpled and crammed, will fit into the mouth of a 10-year-old.

As radical as it may seem, this action did accomplish three things. First, it was a good way to destroy all the written evidence of anything that Ms. Crabtree might have considered bad or offensive. Second, it staved off another trip to the office and a visit with Principal Baker. Third, and perhaps most importantly, the entire sheet of notebook paper filled with bad words crammed into the mouth made for one heck of a mega spitball, perfect to throw at Down the Street Bully Brad when he least expected it.

One very important note for all you parents out there: Hell is not a bad word. It is a place. (Of course, if you ask The Boy, that place was our home during his teenage years.)

The worst mouth-washing I received was when I tried to debate my Mom on this hellish issue. Our debate came to a head one Sunday morning when Preacher Jim was in rare form. By the end of the hour, he was red-faced and sweating.

I guess it was all that talking about Hell that got him so hot. After the service, I made the mistake of suggesting Mom ought to wash Preacher Jim’s mouth out with soap. Fair was fair. He had said Hell more times in the past hour than I had in the last year. It didn’t help my case much that I made the suggestion when we were standing right in front of him.

It has been said that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason. We’re supposed to listen twice as much as we speak.

Sounds like really good advice, especially if you’re in the Court of Mom. Besides, no one has ever gotten sick from having his ears washed out with soap.

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