I was on the Blue Route last week, driving carefully to avoid being pulled over by the sort of sneaky cop who nailed me on Labor Day in a speed trap near Norristown. All was well until a Chevy Suburban doing 90 mph blew past my ancient Acura.
“Motherfucker!” I shouted, dashing my New Year’s resolution.
“Your favorite word,” said my friend Swamp Rabbit, who was riding shotgun and laughing. “I knew you couldn’t give it up.”
My resolution had been to substitute the word ‘malefactor’ for the other mf-word every time I got angry . If some wise guy got on my case I would say, “What’s it to you, malefactor?” Same number of syllables, same hard consonants, but no sex-with-relatives accusation.
“Where’d ya git that word, anyhow?” the rabbit said.
I told him ‘malefactor’ comes from the Latin and refers to one who breaks the law in a big way. Teddy Roosevelt famously used the word to criticize the greedy corporate chiefs who imperiled the economy in the early 20th century. “Malefactors of great wealth,” he called them.
“You can apply the word to all sorts of rotten people,” I explained. “It’s more polite than the dirty mf-word.”
The rabbit drank from his flask and said, “Tell it to that Congress lady who dissed Trump a few weeks back. She said ‘impeach the motherfucker,’ and she didn’t use no asterisks.”
“Trump bragged about grabbing women by the pussy,” I replied. “So I guess the Congresswoman figured it was okay to call him a dirty name.”
Swamp Rabbit took another drink and shook his head. “Talking like Trump just drags you down to his level, don’t you think?”
I pressed down on the gas pedal and stared into the dark up ahead. “The people who voted for Trump dragged all of us down to his level. We’re stuck there till the motherfucker is gone.”
That was two f-bombs in ten minutes, and I figured there would be many more. It was going to be a very long year, and I was already out of resolutions.