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Humor: Resolution Misattribution

Resolution Misattribution 2019

Quit being such a potty mouth.

It is that one resolution I have made every year since Nixon; yet, by the time you read these words, I can assure you, 2019 was a failure as well. What is difficult for most seems darn near impossible for sailors and those of us who frequently bang our shins into the corner of the bed frame. 

Notice I used the word “darn.” Nice try, but darn doesn’t have the same pain-relieving qualities as the real thing. Neither does heck, shoot or son-of-a-gun.  

It is not like I was raised in a meth lab or had Richard Pryor as a parent. My parents are really good folks who tried to teach me better. Yet I have always felt some bad words just seemed to fit the moment well. Unfortunately, this did not always sit well with school teachers and scout masters.

My coaches always seemed to act like they couldn’t hear me. 

But not the Sunday school teachers.

In 5th grade, I attended Green Acres Baptist Church on the east side of Athens. One of our 5th grade Sunday school teachers was a young fellow named David who had recently graduated from UGA. David and his wife were teachers in the area and both volunteered at the church. He wore thick framed glasses like Jim Bakker (that was a thing in 1975). In addition to the thick frames, he had thick lenses that magnified the size of his eyeballs immensely. It looked to me like his eyes were the size of silver dollars.

It was a special occasion one night when David and his wife arranged to take the 5th grade class in the church van to a UGA basketball game at the Colosseum. I had about as much interest in basketball as cats have interest in becoming vegetarians; but Robin Calvert, Liz Brown and Jill Worley were going, and I did have interest in them.  

The night was going well. I do not recall anything about the game other than visiting the locker room afterwards. Naked basketball players were walking around without towels. 

I was not ready for that. No one was. A little advanced warning would have been nice. David had some type of connections with the team and wanted us (the boys only) to meet the coach and players. I could have skipped the locker room visit.

After the locker room experience and exposure, we loaded the church van and headed for home. David was driving and I was riding in the front passenger seat. As could be expected, the van was loud with 12-year-olds hopped-up on candy and Coca-Cola, all laughing and being silly. David was delivering each kid to their respective house.  

The street I lived on was off the main highway and about a quarter-mile long. My house was the last one on the left. We had no street lights. As we approached the turn to my street, David joked “We can just drop Mark off here at the corner and he can walk home from there.”  

I reflexively shot back “OH, HELL NO!”

The van went instantly silent. Not a kid or adult said a word. I could hear David’s wife draw a muffled gasp. 

Trying to fix the situation, I feebly offered, “I mean, ‘oh HO no.’”  

No one bought it. 

There was no denying it. I had just cussed in a Baptist church bus on a Baptist church Sunday school trip in front of a Baptist church Sunday school teacher with a van load of witnesses.   

The silence was terrifying. David pulled the van slowly onto my street while staring at me the whole time. His big eyes seared a scar onto the inside of my soul while the green light from the dashboard reflected in his thick glasses. Still not a word was spoken. It was the longest quarter-mile ride of my life.  

Once in the driveway, I quickly exited the van and began to plan my excuse to my parents for this behavior. I also contemplated becoming a Presbyterian. Weeks went by and much to my relief, no one from the church ever told my parents. If they ever did, I was prepared to shoot back with the whole naked-men-in-the-locker-room scenario.

No one wants to have to leverage the church, especially a 12-year-old, but damn....

I mean darn.

Editor's note: This humor column by Mark Smith Jr. appeared in the Jan/Feb 2019 issue of Lakelife Magazine. Mark Smith Jr. was the Executive Editor of Lakelife magazine and a Vice President of Smith Communications Inc. until his unexpected death in the Fall of 2019. Mark's humor columns were popular with our readers, and we hope this one resonates with all who struggle with keeping their New Year resolutions!


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