Swearing Sid by
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(281 Stories)

Prompted By Short Fuse

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My father earned that nickname. He had no tolerance for following directions or fixing things around the house. Inevitably, his temper would get the better of him, and a string of obscenities would follow. He was the original short fuse.

My father earned his nickname, Swearing Sid.

Growing up with a man who had no patience for anything that required him to leave his comfort zone was not easy. I don’t remember who he turned to for common household fixes. Perhaps my parents had a handyman. But I do remember the screaming, shouting, and stream of language I was forbidden to use flowing from his mouth. He was often frustrated and enraged by simple tasks that were never his fault.

The example that I remember most clearly was having to put a play kitchen together for our daughter’s second birthday. It was my parents’ gift to her and we wanted to assemble it while she slept. Her birthday always fell near Thanksgiving, so my youngest brother was also there. Once we took the pieces for the kitchen out of the box and saw the multiple sheets of directions, I knew we were in trouble. After a short time, Dad launched into his usual stream of obscenities, declared it was an impossible task, and stormed out of the room to go to bed.

That left my husband and brother to, literally, pick up the pieces. They had to re-sort everything, including screws that had been tossed all over the room. Slowly and patiently, they assembled the play kitchen. It really wasn’t that hard if you followed the step-by-step directions. The next morning, our daughter was delighted by this wonderful gift, and Swearing Sid took full credit for the assembly.

Profile photo of Laurie Levy Laurie Levy
Boomer. Educator. Advocate. Eclectic topics: grandkids, special needs, values, aging, loss, & whatever. Author: Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real.

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Characterizations: funny, well written

Comments

  1. Some of us are sometimes examples of what not to do. Brought tears to my eyes.

  2. Laurie, sorry to hear about your swearing dad, but I assume he had other redeeming qualities.

    My dad was the even-tempered one, I never heard him rage or swear. My mother on the other hand was loud and opinionated, but I must say I never heard her swear either.

    Things are very different in my house today, my husband’s fuse is short and I’m afraid our son inherited his disposition. And thus at times I’d find myself in the middle playing the peacemaker while seething inside!

    A sweet note to your story – when my son was very young he asked for a play kitchen like your daughter’s and when we got it he called it his “toy stove and oven”.

    BTW he grew up to be an eager and excellent cook – very unlike his mother!

  3. Yep, a stressful task bending those swords into plough shears!

  4. Betsy Pfau says:

    You’ve given a perfect example of what NOT to do (and the photo to prove it – glad your brother and husband were there to complete the task; shame on your father for taking credit). It is difficult to be around someone with a short fuse. I know; there are several close to me as well. In fact, my father and brother are the only ones who don’t/didn’t have short fuses. So the day I heard my father snap (it was the day he died), I knew it was awful.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      So sorry Betsy, but I’m sure you remember all of the days your father didn’t snap with great fondness. My father was never able to control his temper when he was frustrated by having to do something he was not very good at.

  5. Dave Ventre says:

    That sounds painful to my conflict-averse ears.

    We were lucky in that my father was a master mechanic who could fix or assemble anything, so we avoided at least that stressor.

  6. Khati Hendry says:

    So sad that your dad couldn’t learn how to control his short fuse–leaving everyone to pick up the pieces. I’m sure he suffered consequences, whether he realized it or not, and you learned by negative example. BTW, that play kitchen in the picture is wonderful!

  7. I can still remember the time when I was in high school and my mother exploded with the words, “Hell’s Bells!” It was the only swearing I ever heard from her. ( I don’t recall even that much from my dad, who, as a lawyer and poet, probably believed that swearing was a mark of lacking creativity as well as discipline). When she said this, I didn’t blame her. I knew I had pushed her over the edge.
    I’m one of many people in my family who could never have assembled that play-kitchen. But I would have taken it for granted and not scattered the pieces nor sworn about it. Just waited for the right guy to come along who could do it.
    Happily, my own son, when turning two, wanted an ironing board and iron–no assembly required. He loved it when I gave him my real shirts and pretended to iron them.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      I love that story about your son and the ironing board, Dale. At some point during my preschool career, we had to remove the irons and ironing boards from the housekeeping corners. The kids had no idea what they were, and the irons became weapons. My grandkids have never ironed anything. I have tried to show them, but they have no interest. Same with sewing on buttons.

  8. Since you enjoyed the image of Jacob ironing: Jacob had once seen me burn my hand on the iron and let out a loud “EWWW!” Of course it happened because i was keeping an eye on him–not because I wqs inept at the task. And I guess it was one of the few times he had seen me explode in that kind of powerful and loud expression. His favorite thing to do, once he had the iron and ironing board, was to re-enact that scene. He would pretend to iron a shirt and suddenly pull his hand away and yell, “Ewww!” He did it dozens of times over a period of a few months.

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