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Apr 13

Abandon all hope

Posted on Friday, April 13, 2007 in Family, Something to think about

There’s a part in one of my favouite books (The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger) where the hero is loitering in a deserted schoolyard.  He spots some graffiti someone has scrawled on the wall: ‘Fuck You’.  The sight depresses him, and he vainly tries to scrub it off, to protect young eyes from its foulness.  He longs to protect innocence, to ward off adult ‘phoniness’ for as long as he possibly can.  I love that book so much.

Holden Caulfield would have a heart-attack if he spent five minutes in the housing estate where I live.

There will be a lot of swear-words to follow.  This is for quoting purposes.  If I censor it, it doesn’t have the same tragic message.

The village population here is less than 200 at a guess.  The housing authorities parked a clump of houses on its outskirts to cater for travellers, unwed mothers, disabled batchelors and widows.  They have just finished building a few private houses in the estate, but nobody will buy them because they are too scared to live here.  It really isn’t that bad.. if anything it toughens you up, gives you an education into human nature that you won’t find anywhere else.  I’m also pretty confident that my house won’t be broken into.  The general rule is that you don’t shit where you eat.

There’s one lady… lets call her Jacinta.  She’s a big scary woman who has a long, depressing and sordid past as gossip would have me believe.  She has three children.  I overheard her one day in the parking lot of our local supermarket;

 “Get into the fucking car yiz fucking little cunts yiz!!”. 

Her brash voice frequently slashes the peace of a sunny afternoon with little gems like this.  Her latest quote would be;

 “That fuckin’ mouth o’ yours is gonna land you in shit oneday, son!”. 

Talk about the cat calling the dog ‘hairy-hole’?!  Jacinta is our local Avon representative.  If only they knew!!!

The most wonderful thing about this woman is that she is raising the most polite children on the road.  They are helpful, nice, and pretty articulate for their age.  When I commented once on the fact that their mum doesn’t half swear a lot, they said in words beyond their years… ‘it’s just her way.’  Chatting with them is a pleasure.  The same cannot be said for the rest of the children.   The three-year-old next door was sitting on the wall today, watching me water my plants. 
 
 “You’re a fuckin’ ath-hole” he said.  I ignored him.  “And my dad’th a fuckin’ bathtard.” 

I felt like throwing up.  The child is too small for that.  I tried telling him that he sounded very silly, that cursing isn’t a smart way to talk.  This started a parrot-like litany of “Ath-hole ath-hole ath-hole ath-hole etc..”  at the top of his voice.  Nobody came out of the house to correct him.  Everyday I hear conversations being held in innocent childish tones along the lines of.. “Ronaldo’s a fuckin’ queer!”,  “He’s not!  Fuck you, ya fuckin’ cunt!”  It makes me cringe.  Nobody EVER comes out of their houses to correct them.  I’m being dead serious here, no exaggerations.  I want to emphasise here that these are NOT traveller kids I’m talking about.  The traveller kids keep themselves to themselves, and always have a friendly wave for me when I walk past.

I’m moving out soon, my family is in this house temporarily while another is being built.  I’ll miss the amazing views of the wind-farms on the Irish Sea from the upstairs window, but other than that I’ll never look back. 

I really really hope that ‘this sort of’ child is confined to ‘this sort of’ housing estate.  I remember being shocked and appalled when my dad was reading a Beatrix Potter book to me at the tender age of five.  ‘Peter Rabbit was shut-up in the oven’ it read… or something like that. 

 “That’s so RUDE!!!”  I gasped, before being taught about context. 

I and my peers NEVER cursed until the age of about 10, and even that would have been mild.  You didn’t do it.  It’s like stepping on the cracks in the pavement.  If you did it, bears would eat you, or Santa would cross you off his list.. who knows?  You just DON’T DO IT.  It’s a shame that the parents referred to above don’t instill the same wisdom in their own kids.  The wooden-spoon is a valuable entity in my eyes.  (*gasp*, did she really just say that??!)  Yes, she did.  Authorities are telling us not to smack our kids, but in some cases I believe it’s truly warranted.  A new generation of bubble wrapped children is being spawned.  I fear for the future.  I really do.

mini-hooligan.jpg

Bring on the comments

  1. Kate says:

    Unfortunately, the kids in “nicer” neighborhoods are often just as dysfunctional… they’ve just learned to hide it under a patina of pretty clothes and snotty New England accents.

    Or maybe that’s just here…

  2. Grandad says:

    I remember being confined to the house when I was around ten for using the word ‘bum’.

    And I’m glad you appreciate the wooden spoon. I knew you would one day :)

  3. Grannymar says:

    Children NEED to learn boundries!

    The short sharp shock of a slap on the legs has made many a young person stop and think.

  4. Cavan is full of knacks – or Travellers, I’m not very PC – and so I wish them all back to whatever God-forsaken place they came from – Ballyhaunis, I think.

    Noewadays, if your chuildren swear, it’s a badge of honour. A few years back, a friend of mine had her 6-year-old cousin over. He told me to ‘fuck off’. Now I managed to restrain myself, but everyone else thought it riotously funny.

    I die inside …

  5. K8 says:

    Ok, I will admit that when my 2 year old curses, it’s very difficult not to laugh. She knows she’s not allowed to it, so she’s testing me with a big grin on her face. She watches me like a hawk when she does it.

    A 6 year old though? Badge of honour? WTF? Not disputing the comment, but how is that cool?

    Da- The wooden spoon wasn’t so bad. It was the baseball bat fitted with 6inch nails that was a tad unnessessary.

  6. Grandad says:

    K8,
    Don’t be looking for sympathy. You know that was only used when you went looking for food.
    Two slices of bread and a glass of milk was more than enough for one day. And look at the fine figure of you now. You should be grateful.

  7. Brianf says:

    Wow, she got a whole glass of milk!! Every day? Spoiled her did ya’ Grandad?
    My son Jimmy and I had long talks about swearing. we came to an agreement that when we were fishing or doing and Father-Son things it was OK, occasionaly to swear. I taught him long and hard that there are times and places for everything.

  8. Baino says:

    All kids need now and then is a quick pinch on the soft fleshy bit on the inside of their upper arm. No-one can see this corporal punishment taking place and you should see expression on onlooker’s faces as they sigh in sympathy and mutter “that poor woman with that poor disabled child!” as you remove the contorted toddler from the scene.

    Mine won’t leave home so I must have done something right!

    On a serious note, it’s so sad. I have to say I don’t get much exposure to it in my neighbourhood but I’m sure it goes on much the same. In Sydney we have the term “Westy” for people living in the outer western suburbs, many in public housing and we’ve even had street riots out there due to unemployed youth with nothing much to keep them busy other than stealing cars and vandalising homes. Guess it happens all over the world.

  9. K8 says:

    Suggestion noted!
    Thing is, it’s really quiet around here.. crime rates are low, low, low. You hear a bit of gossip about houses being broken into much further down the road, but other than the children and one or two quirky residents, the rest are very nice, you could chat to them all day! I guess my point would be is that the worst crime offenders are all under the age of 8… so strange.

  10. […] felt like a little part of her innocence was being lost with each inaudible pop above the chaos and curses below.  If I could, I would’ve trapped those bubbles in a jar to keep forever, but I […]

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