Over at The Ekklesia in Southern Maine
, Dan Allen has launched a Christian cuss word contest. The questions he asks are:
Do you have fond memories of your first car? Did it inspire you to cuss up a storm (Christian or otherwise)?
Well, I started to answer in the comments, but as usual, my storytelling got away on me, and my answer was much too long for a simple comment. So I've just left a teaser over there, and directed folks to come here for the rest of the story. Here it is. Enjoy!
When I was in grade 12 (1973), our province initiated "scholarship exams" in which those students who chose to do so, could write special final exams in grade 12 academic subjects, and if they got high enough marks, they would be awarded a $200 scholarship cheque.
Of course they were assuming we'd use it for our higher education, but when I got my cheque, I bought my first car, a sweet, pure, white 1964 slant-six Valiant. That little vehicle could go and go and go. Gas was 50 cents a gallon, and I spent $2 a week on gas, and $10 a year on insurance. Other than oil changes, which I did myself, and a set of new tires, the only other money I spent on her was $4 for a used gas tank from the wrecker after her gas tank rusted out. She took myself and my friends everywhere, on- and off-road (we called her a tank in disguise).
My only problem was that my brother hated to ride in the passenger seat while his sister drove. Very hard on his manly dignity, especially when the car was packed with all his buddies. And packed it often was, as there were no seat-belt laws. So whenever he got the chance, he'd twist my arm to let him drive.
Anyway, as we were a fairly "Christianly" group, unused to cussing, my little Valiant had been pretty much spared choking on blue air. One particular night, we all piled into her, and drove down the valley to a "Christian coffee house" (very popular in the early 70s) in another community. We hung out there until midnight or so, and then piled back in her to head home. My brother had begged to drive, till I finally gave in.
Now that he was the man, in the driver's seat, the power went to his head, and he started to show off, driving like a maniac. All his buddies were howling and cheering him on. We came to a major intersection, deserted at that time of night, and my brother took my poor little car into the center of that intersection and spun her round and round, her tires smoking, rubber sticking to the road. Finally she squealed to a halt.
I flung open the passenger door, leaped out, and stared with dismay at my poor little car's now much balder tires. I ran around to the driver's side, flung the door open, and ordered my brother out. He refused. I grabbed him and pulled with all my might. He stumbled out of the car, and we stood there in the disapating blue smoke of the tires. I yelled at him. He yelled at me. The guys in the car hooted. I demanded the keys. He glared at me, then stretched out his arm, and flung the keys far off into the darkness.
And then he started cussing at the top of his voice. Not just the minor little Christian-youth-group slang we sometimes daringly tossed around, but real, nasty, scary swear words. They poured out, one after another, finally culminating in the *f* word. The air was blue, blue, blue!
And suddenly there was silence. No one spoke. Everyone held their breath. My poor little car quivered in pain. Head hanging down, my brother eventually slunk around to the passenger door and got in. I searched around in the darkness and finally found the keys. Getting in the driver's seat, I gently started her engine, and pulled carefully out of the intersection, and drove my poor baby home. No one spoke a word the entire way. And we never mentioned the incident.
Years later, when my brother had become a youth pastor, and his kids were in their late teens, and drivers themselves, I told them the story. They thought it was hilarious. My brother, however, was not amused. But that's another story for another day.