What's a girl to do once her reputation is, um, soiled?

Lorna’s reputation was hanging in  the air after the church fart incident. Could she recover it? Did she want to?  Let’s see…

I was beginning to see that my  Mission of becoming a Perfect Child was kind of like chewing Jello—the more I  tried, the more it just slid away. In impeccably anti-Perfect Child fashion, I  got frustrated.

The Perfect thing to do would’ve  been to grin and bear my frustrations. Being only human, stress would build. It  was only a matter of time until I would either ker-splat or ka-boom from  the internal pressure. Most of the time, I swallowed up my feelings with a  chaser of something sweet.  But there  were times when I just had to let things out of my system. Trouble always  followed.

Enter cuss words. Some adults and  Bad Children could swear with aplomb.  I  stayed away from them, living a wholesome, G-rated life.

About the dirtiest words that came  from my mouth were darn it, gosh, and  (if the circumstances were truly ugly) stupid-head.  I knew some words were Bad just by their emphatic delivery. Their precise meaning was lost to me and I was fine with that.

So many 4-letter words, so little self-contol...

I heard the widest variety of cuss words on  the school bus. I believe those yellow monstrosities to be the portal through  which Satan traverses between Earth and the Underworld. Innocence is lost and  crime bosses are trained on school buses. I first heard the “F-word” on my  school bus and knew it was Bad just by the way it hung in the air–like  my fart in church, only way worse because it kept getting repeated.

There came a time in my 13th year that I was furious with my older sister for some reason.  She stormed out of the trailer in her typical  I’m-having-the-last-word style.  This time I was  determined that I was going to have the last word and it was going to be a doozy.

I took a deep breath and formulated  the Grand-Pooh-Bah of all cuss words in my head. F…F…Fu…Fu…F…”  That’s all that came out. I was convinced I had developed a stutter.

The "F-word" was stuck in my mouth.

Another deep breath.  Another try.  Success!

I said the most evil of Bad Words.  No one heard me—not even my sister.  Well, I suppose God heard.  If I could have hit “rewind” then “erase,” I  would have.  I felt as dirty as the word—I lost my linguistic virginity and there was no going back.  Saying it brought no satisfaction. If I  tipped from grace by farting during the Stations of the Cross, saying the  F-word catapulted me to Hell. I was a goner before I ever got to be an up-and-comer.

I swore off of swearing, hoping I  stopped my path toward corruption before the Devil and I got engaged.

Then something dawned on me. I was 13 years old. I had options. Mom had  fewer worries about my sisters. My Mission needed rethinking.

There must be a way to keep a Good Girl image AND live a little. As Mom  always said, “Lorna, you’re such a smart girl…”

Ellie May was blonde and not as dumb as you might think. Her weapon was pretty obvious. I was blonde, smart and I kept my weapon concealed.

What scheme was teenaged Lorna  cooking up? Stay tuned…