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F-Word A Duck and Extreme Provocation




The Bibbed Wonder says I am cat like. Not for my natural prowess, not for my slinky body, not even for my sometimes questionable attitude…the only accurate part of that is my sometimes questionable attitude. No, he makes this comparison for my natural proclivity for all things shiny. I admit I am drawn to baubles, trinkets, and frippery; I can’t help myself. I also have a natural inclination for red shoes, good purses, old china, and butter related antiquity. However, my story’s focus is on the red shoes.


You see dear reader; I have moments of denial when I believe in that moment that I will wear/do/commit myself to something that I would have worn/done/committed to in my younger days. To be frank, I forget I am older. I have a collection of red shoes that I know in my rational mind I cannot/will not/am simply not able to wear. Most of these shoes have a three-inch heel, some form of frippery, and perhaps sparkles. They take up several rows in my shoe closet…yes, I have a shoe closet, complete with multilevel cubbies for my shoes. My red shoe collection is at the top because that is where all the shoes I never wear go.


Several times a year, I dust my shoe collection, clean out the cubbies, and cull my herd of lovely, not practical shoes. My bean was helping me, she is always interested in my collection of unwearable high heels and likes to walk around the upstairs informing me that in just a few months she will be able to fit into these shoes, as well as pointing out that she walks better in high heels than I do. She does a Quasimodo limp, dragging her foot, and groaning in mock pain…sometimes she is the embodiment of all her father’s charm.


On this particular day, I was stretching to dust the top shelf of shoes, common sense and intuition told me to get the step stool, but I decided to ignore that voice of reason and proceed with my stretching and struggling. My feather duster got caught on one particularly lovely, sparkly, red stiletto that I had worn to Eric’s company’s Christmas party for three hours…and then cried when I took them off because my Paul toe was throbbing and sending electrical shocks of pain up my leg. One more example of my husband’s charm, he names everything, living, inanimate, serious, or jesting, it gets a name. He named my toe Paul because I have developed arthritis that is horribly painful but he calls it my bunion…get it…Paul Bunion? My toe is referred to by anyone who knows us well, as my “Paul toe.” Now you see why I have a natural propensity for colorful language?


As I tried to free my feather duster from the beautiful, object of torture and pain, I again ignored that voice of common sense that said it is probably best to not heave and jerk at an object three feet above your head. That gorgeous red, device of pain came flying out of it’s cubby with such force that before I could react, it was spiked solidly into the top of my foot. I looked down in shock and disbelief and then I saw the blood. The nerve endings came alive, the pain began to register and I stood there with a stiletto sticking out of the top of my foot making odd whimpering noises that Jordan would imitate for weeks. My poor bean was as dumb struck and shocked as I was. I remember her little face with her eyes as big as saucers, prancing from foot to foot, not knowing what to do. I crumpled to the floor, holding back tears because I knew if I cried, my bean would be in the center of a traumatized melt down.


As I sat on the floor of my closet, grappling with the pain, I pulled the stiletto out of the top of my foot. What followed was more blood than I would have thought could come out of the top of one’s foot and I let loose. Through clenched teeth and fighting back tears, I went to my phrase of extreme provocation: “F#@! A Duck! That really hurts!” You see, with my propensity for colorful language, I explained to my bean a long time ago that there are certain words, terms, phrases that are only appropriate to use and should be saved for instances of extreme provocation. F#@! A Duck is my go-to phrase in cases of extreme provocation. When my family hears that phrase uttered, they know I am in a bad way. Jordan’s eyes got even bigger at the guttural utterance of my go to phrase. She shook off the shock, jumped into action and brought me ice, a towel, and wrapped her little arms around me, consoling me the whole time.


Once the initial shock and pain subsided, the bleeding stopped, the bruising began and I was able to walk in a genuine Quasimodo style. I decided to finally listen to my voice of reason and go put my feet up…literally, to try to stop the swelling. Eric had been working away that day. When he came home and saw my foot wrapped in ice, he didn’t even have an opportunity to ask what happened. Jordan delved into the drama of the day with such zeal and zest it was hard not to laugh. Once she ended her dramatic reenactment of “the stabbing,” she looked at her dad as serious as a heart attack and said, “It was bad daddy, it was really bad…and mommy said F-word a duck!”


My go to phrase has now become, “F-word a Duck!” in cases of mildly extreme provocation. We have catch phrases that we hear, strike us as funny and then we repeat them randomly for days, even weeks at a time. F-word a duck seems to have real staying power. Jordan fails to see the humor in her paraphrase. To her, it was just retelling a tale in language that would insure she did not get reprimanded for the use of inappropriate language. However, I hear her when she thinks I can’t hear her and her phrase of extreme provocation is now, “Oh, F-word a duck!” I have decided that I will not chide her for her substitution. She is demonstrating that she knows appropriate from inappropriate and though mildly inappropriate, as long as she is alone, I’ll let it pass. I find myself revisiting the conversation of appropriate language, extreme provocation, and knowing one’s audience a little more often out of fear that she forgets the lesson. However, I am going to trust that my child knows that my foot being impaled by a three-inch stiletto is indeed extreme provocation and the use of inappropriate language was justified if not desirable.


Hind sight is always 20/20, as with most instances of extreme provocation, I find I could have avoided the entire instance if I had just listened to that little voice of reason, common sense, intuition…whatever you want to call it. If I had just taken the time to get the foot stool, I could have avoided impalement by a gorgeous, if dangerous, shoe. My child would not utter F-word a duck when she thinks no one can hear her, and I wouldn’t have a scar on top of my foot the size of a three-inch stiletto. However, lesson learned and all I can do is try to do better the next time.


I hope you are able to listen to your voice of reason, avoid extreme provocation, and not experience painful episodes. In these times of uncertainty, let us stay safe, listen to our intuition and continue to wash our hands.

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