Friday, March 06, 2009

you can't kill the rooster

One of my favorite authors, David Sedaris, wrote a book of short stories called Me Talk Pretty One Day. There is a chapter in that book named "You can't kill the Rooster". It is about the author's family and how this younger brother, "The Rooster" is capable of getting away with almost anything regarding their father.

Here's an excerpt where The Rooster has just shown up to Thanksgiving dinner after a bar fight.

The physical pain had passed, but it bothered Paul that his face was "all lopsided and #*+% for the $(@&** holidays." That said, he retreated to the bathroom with my sister Amy's makeup kit and returned to the table with two black eyes, the second drawn on with mascara. This seemed to please him, and he wore his matching bruises for the rest of the evening.

"Did you get a load of that fake black eye?" my father
"That guy ought to do makeup for the movies. I'm telling
you, the kid's a real artist."

Now Sedaris isn't for everyone. If you have tender ears, (Rachael, I'm speaking to you) don't go there. I, however, was raised by my mother, who in turn, was raised by a sailor. I'm positive that when (or I should say if, because my mother seldom reads my blog, she's annoying in that way) she reads this post, my mom will be appalled and deny any accusations. But the truth of the matter is that we were raised using, what I like to call, descriptive, language.*

BUT. Not around my father.

Dad was raised by Vola, who winced at the word shoot.

And so, when my father wasn't around we girls carried on our conversations as normal, but when the back door slammed and my father came in from work, we all instantly grew manners. After all, a girls greatest desire is to have her Daddy pleased with her.

This is not the case with my brother. Ryan is the baby. He is our official family mascot. He has been arrested, splayed over the hood of a cop car, handcuffed and frisked. He has been kicked out of school and given demerits. He has ridden skate boards through fire and been catapulted from behind a moving vehicle. He has broken his collar bone, heel and back. He has various road burn scars that will take years to fade. He regularly shaves his head bald and wears a metal studded belt.

Ryan never minds his language around my dad. Being the family mascot and joker, he is usually the one with a great story to tell. We gather around the kitchen bar and listen intently. When the language gets a little colorful we sisters glance nervously at my father to see his reaction. The amazing thing is, there is none.

My dad, the equivalent of a staunch minister in our church, doesn't bat an eye. Our eyes dart back and forth with each new curse. Nothing.

It's all very curious to me.

And so, I've taken to calling my baby brother "The Rooster".

Long live The Rooster.

Having said all that, you must know that deep down he's a really good kid. A long time ago I sent him a card with my all time favorite quote from Oscar Wilde. It reads, " I'm not saying we should misbehave, but we ought to look as though we might."

It seems Ryan has taken this to heart.

On Sunday, he straps on a tie, shines his head and goes to church. He has never touched drugs or alcohol and rarely even eats sugar. He flosses his teeth obsessively. Being "on time"(read 5 minutes early) is his second job. In truth, the guy's a real goody goody.

Maybe our Father has learned from counseling other families in our church that a few expletives aren't worth the battle.

me, ryan, amy, heidi

As for me, well, I'm trying to watch it. Especially since our last trip to Legoland. We were at the top of roller coaster when my sweet little son yelled out "Oh my hell!". That's enough to put the kibosh on any mother's fool language.
* To be fair, I must say, that harsh swear words were never allowed. Only the more pedestrian ones like, damn, hell and shit. Oh, and funny enough, we weren't allowed to say pregnant or snot.
For those of you wondering about my brother's martial status, please see this post.


Chris and Amy Jackson said...

I was also raised by sailors, and have recently told my children that if they will be quiet at school I will try and speak like a dignified mother.

Lisa said...

I LOVE THIS POST! First off, you quoted one of my favorite books of all time (I looove DS...)...I shamelessly laughed aloud in public cafes reading it. And I have a rooster in my family too--also the youngest and a son...hmm?

Colorful language has been a part of my vocab since age 3. Of course there's a funny story that goes along with, but another time, another post.

Oh, and by the way, your Ryan is !@#$%^&! awesome...

ladyheidibug said...

OH MY HELL! could you have picked a worse picture of me!!! Please tell your readers I am working on losing a couple of those chins!!!

Oh, an Cock-a-doodle-do! Ryan the rooster has it come'n!

Oh crap, does Dad read thins???

Kroegers Calling said...

Yeah "hell" and "damn" have come back to bite me more times than I care to count. But see, I am married to a sailor.

Kari said...

Jack whipped out a "damn it!" not to long ago, and we didn't have to look far for where that came from. Momma's mouth has never been so clean.

Laura said...

Holy shit, your brother is HOT.

Anonymous said...

I knew your peeps would love your cute brother! And of course, I have inherited your "oh my hell!"
Make sure your mom and dad read this post, they will get a kick out of it!

Laura said...

I can not stop looking at your brother

Elizabeth said...

love this post -- have you heard David Sedaris live? i've never laughed harder. you can listen to him read The Rooster on tape and it's really just unbelievably funny.

Laura said...

is your brother single? did I mention how HOT he is?

april said...


My brother is single and would really love to get married. But need I remind you? You ARE married. Remember that guy?

Jerusalem said...

I have 2 sisters and 1 brother. He is forever allowed to get away with things we never could. Too funny. Also I am a huge Sedaris fan and Preachers Kid. Maybe the 2 go hand-in-hand somehow? Maybe? Long live the Rooster!

Caroline D. said...

I love David Sedaris. Your brother's a cutie.

I can't curse in front of my mom, she's a priest. Sometimes I really want to let loose, though...

Laura said...

a married old woman with 4,000 kids can dream, cant she???

he is so hot

KateB said...

I too was raised by a mother who was raised by sailors...but, with that miraculous thing called "selective amnesia" she insists to this day that I'm the only one with a potty mouth-she swears I learned the words from my friends (NOT, mine cringe over the words I use and I know they want to use a bar of soap to me)-anyway, I lurk but never wrote b4 now...the Rooster posts crack me up!