I admit it. My language can be a little...um, salty...at times, both in real life and in my fiction.
But it's not my fault. I blame the Irish.
I've talked a bit before about our experience with gunrunners in the ancient land of Eire. A harrowing experience, to be sure, but it was what came next that was really the bigger influence on me.
After our narrow escape from the dinner of overcooked mutton and undercooked peas, we met up with an Irishman named John.
(No, not the John Smythe from the gunrunner post. Another John. Hmm. John must be a common name in Ireland, which is weird, because you'd think they'd all be called "Sean.")
Anyway, I'm quite sure this John was the world's only native born Irishman who could not sing and did not drink. Yes, merry times indeed. Oh, and he couldn't tolerate "the veg," as he called anything that wasn't meat or potatoes. (Remember that. It'll be important later.)
TG and I, in an effort to connect, told him we couldn't stand Brussels sprouts. TG went so far as to relate the story of how his mother went on a Brussels sprouts kick when TG was a kid, and fed the whole family noxious, overcooked little cabbages several times a week for at least a year, because she heard they were good for you. Even though--get this--she couldn't stand them either.
Ha-ha! We all had a great laugh at my poor mother-in-law's expense, but the important thing was, we bonded.
Seriously, this John was a Very Nice Guy, a soldier on leave from the army who had just returned from an overseas UN peacekeeping mission. He thought it was high time he saw as much of his own country as he had the rest of the world, and was driving from youth hostel to youth hostel, playing tourist.
Long story short (ha! with a writer? you poor, naive thing...) John adopted TG and me, and drove us all over the country, liberating us from the train schedule.
He even took us home to his family farm, where we got to meet his lovely mother, his plucky younger sister, and his delightful 92-year-old grandfather (whose favorite show was Star Trek--he was watching the episode with the rock monster when we got there, and kept saying, "Will ye look at that, Johnny! The rock's alive!").
Yes, John quickly became our favorite person in the whole world!
Until his mother served us a home-cooked meal of mutton (much better than the gunrunner's), roasted potatoes (yummy!), and (you've probably guessed it) Brussels sprouts.
Now, TG and I tried frantically to signal John not to mention anything about our earlier conversation to his mother. But I guess he didn't speak "eyebrow," because he said, in his great booming voice, "MA! TG and Linda HATE Brussels sprouts!"
(Only, of course, he used TG's real, non-blog name.)
Well. TG and I could not have been more mortified if our clothes had suddenly evaporated. We stammered our way through apologies, and finally convinced the poor woman (who was about to throw out the whole bowl of Brussels sprouts--which would have pleased John no end--and cook us peas instead) that the kind of Brussels sprouts we hated were the nasty frozen ones, not the lovely green garden jewels she'd served us fresh.
But I fear I have digressed from the intent of this post.
John, the blabber-mouthed Irishman, continued to drive us around his fair country, and eventually we wound up where every tourist must: Blarney Castle. There to kiss the Blarney Stone, and thus receive the gift of gab. Very important to a writer.
John, ever the gentleman, insisted we go first. With much contortion (you have to lay on your back and hang off the edge of the castle to reach the stone) and a minimum of acrophobia, TG and I managed our turns.
After which John informed us there was nothing the locals liked better than getting drunk and taking a whiz on the stone.
Yes, the famous Blarney Stone was apparently a favorite outdoor restroom.
So, I ask you, is it any wonder I ended up with a potty mouth?