Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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Only I didn't say fudge. I said the word. The big one. The Queen Mother of dirty words. The F dash, dash, dash word.

Soiling the hearts and minds of several of God's precious children just out for an innocent sled ride in the Pennsylvania countryside. It wasn't my fault! You try taking a futuristic toboggan manned by an out-for-blood child of God careening into your kidneys at forty miles an hour and not utter some kind of inappropriate something. Shit. They're lucky I didn't come out with Captain Fuckstick or something equally hostile to young ears. Besides. It was like a public service, my cursing. Kids need to know what not to say, right? Imagine all the "Mama, that lady said a bad word" conversations I likely sparked that day. I'm a hero, is what I am.


I have my eye on this woman and her two kids from the get-go. Not only because the enormous sledlike toboggan contraption they're using looks like something Gene Simmons would use if he took a notion to hit the slopes in full KISS regalia accompanied by a cloud of smoke, but there are rules to sledding, you know? If you're on the same run as other folks you wait until someone gets to the bottom before you take your turn so you don't slice open their face before they have time to get out of your way. And when you're tromping back up to the top of the hill you walk along the sides of the runs, not up the middle because, you know, we're at the top waiting to go and you're lollygagging all over the mountain so move you fuckchop, move!

Note that we, being the sled law abiding civilians we are, wait to take our turn even though this woman and her two children are flagrantly violating every ordinance known to sledding and probably could use a good, swift sled to the shins as a lesson.

After several awkward minutes of us staring at them as they meander up the path, directly in our way, the mom and her two daughters finally get back to the top of the mountain which clears us for take-off. Violet and I gear up to take a run but the hill is so steep I decided to hike down a bit, reducing the amount of territory we'd be covering on our journey downhill. This effectively puts us halfway down the mountain, preparing to take a run like so:

Except I am where Serge is in the photo and he and Henry are cavorting somewhere out of our line of sight. I have just settled onto our sled, digging my heels into the ground to keep it from prematurely whisking us away, and am adjusting Violet in front of me when I hear the bone-chilling screams of several people above and behind me.

I barely have time to swivel my head to see the older (bigger!) of the two aforementioned daughters zooming at me in her heavy toboggan. Slow motion scenes from a movie begin to unfold. Zoom in on me as my eyes widen. Cut to her eyes widening. Back to me again as I note her speed and every muscle in my body tightens in anticipation of impact. Cut to her as she starts to scream and flail uncontrollably. Captain fuckstick, indeed. The last thing I remember are giant boots atop the Gene Simmons sled, barreling toward my gaping eyeballs. I just have time to whip my head forward and wrap my body around Violet, clenching ass cheeks so veal-like they can barely clench, to absorb the impact.

The crash, when it comes, is painful. I've been hit by a moving car before and that was nothing compared to this. My back takes the brunt of it and my body is jarred and flipped so violently that the sled, with my little daughter on it, is sent rocketing down the hillside.

As I watch my screaming daughter disappear in an out of control sled I will my body to stand and chase her. It doesn't comply. Even though the impact of the crash knocked the wind out of me I manage to shout a single word, the first word that takes shape in my mind, a word I can apparently vocalize even when all wind has been torpedoed from my system by virtue of a 40 mile an hour kick to my back and I am verging on broken spine territory... Which takes us back to where we started.


Only I didn't say fudge. I said the word. The big one. The Queen Mother of dirty words. The F dash, dash, dash word.

Like the scratch of a stopped record player in a bar signalling trouble, the word instantly silences all sledding merriment and seems to echo continuously around the snowy valley for what feels like years. Everyone stops. Everyone stares, including the girl who just tried to sever my spine with her toboggan. She is looking at me in horror. Her mother, at the top of the mountain is looking at me in horror. In the distance an eagle caws. An icicle drips a droplet of water onto the snow. I hear God sigh in disappointment, yet again.

Slowly, in the same way you hazily become aware of your ringing alarm in the morning, I realize Violet is screaming in terror at the bottom of the hill and immediately launch myself in the direction she had been thrown. She has taken a bumpy, bruising run down the hill, ending up in an area filled with rocks and scratchy weeds, but she is okay. Scared, but okay.


Serge appears from somewhere with Henry at about the same time I reach Violet. I'm hugging her and whispering consoling non-curse words while noting the mother of the girl who slammed into me is making her way toward me. I ignore her because I'm mad. Why did she send her kid down the hill right into me and my daughter? Because she's a flagrant violator of sledding policy, that's why. But I'm also ashamed. Embarrassed that I violated the parenting code which, pursuant to section 3,453, specifically states that under no circumstances are you to curse around other people's children. Not only had I cursed around other people's children but I had indirectly cursed at someone's child, which is like a violation of the Geneva Conventions, or something like that.

My back is killing me, my kid is screaming and God is disappointed in me again. The woman, when she approaches, simply apologizes for the crash. Well, her mouth says sorry but her eyes tell me I deserved it because I am an F-word using heathen. Which, of course she's right but, well, I still think that kid who swiped me in her Gene Simmons toboggan was out for blood. I can't be positive but I think she winked a split second before impact. So you know, according to the Geneva Conventions I'm totally justified in calling her Captain Fuckstick if I take a notion to. And I just might. God is already disappointed in me, what've I got to lose? And, as any good sledder knows, she's a flagrant sled law violator and obviously deserves every Captain Fuckstick lobbed in her direction, adorable dimples or no.

Reader Comments (16)

It's ok, Monica Soprano. Like farts, some words must be released or else they will implode in your body and potentially rupture an organ.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAllison W

First Off I Pray That You Are OK !
Then. I Say You Had Every Right To Throw The F-Bomb (This Time, and I Might Have Thrown A Right Hook At The Sorry Excuse Of A Mother That Sent Her Kid Down The Hill While You And Violet Were In The Way)

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBrett

That SUCKS !

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterUtah L

I am irritated and angry on your behalf at that woman. People who don't know and/or follow The Rules of sledding have no business taking their kids Sledding. Glad you are okay, and maybe a teensy bit sorry that you restrained yourself from saying more to that lady. Ugh.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Monica, you have made me not take my kids sledding, so that is good. Seriously though, it is not just sledding law- it is common sense not to send kids up or down a hill into someone's path. Years ago, I was hit by an out of control snowboarder so hard that I broke an interior pelvic bone. On impact, as I felt my back bend in a way it never had before, I think my only words were "Oh sh!t!!!" You just can't control these things.

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPlant-based baby!


January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSelena

holy fudge balls. How are you feeling now?

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrachel

I am in awe - AWE! - that you only said it once. Had that happened to me there would have a been a chain of flaming FUCKS melting all the damn snow so those bitches would have been neck deep in mud. Good on, you, Mama, good on you!

January 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBren

How annoying. I hope you weren't too close to home, so you don't have to face this woman and her kids during your daily routine! That's the advantage of living in the big city. You can have a scuffle with someone, really let lose on your worst behaviour and pitch a fit, and then never have to see them again. Unless by some horrible chance they come into the Starbucks you work at a few days later and you have to make them a caramel macchiato. Not that that's ever happened to me.....o_O

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterluna

While I feel your pain (and hope you have a bottle of ibuprofen and heating pad nearby for the next several days), this gave you fodder to write what I think is one of your best posts ever! See? If you look deep enough, there's most always a silver lining.

P.S. As a high school teacher, I know the frequency with which kids will hear the F-bomb- they need to get acclimated sometime!

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

Fuck the fuck word, and fuck that fuckbag of a mother! My only concern is that you are ok and there is no internal, spine, kidney or other damage!!! ARE you ok? ??

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermama

Good for you! I would have said something much MUCH worse to both the daughter and the mom. They are horrible, horrible people and I hate them for you. I am proud of you, Monica. Say whatever you need to say.

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

Oh dear Lord, this made me laugh - sorry! Glad everyone is ok, but I can vividly see the scene as it unfolds, and it would be hilarious, if it were in a movie. This bit "clenching ass cheeks so veal-like they can barely clench" had me laughing so hard, my work colleagues all turned to stare. Thank you. This post made my day.

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanet

Monica, I feel your pain, literally. There is a hil near our house affectionately known as Dead Man's Hill and it's a great sledding hill. I was in sort of the opposite situation as you though, flying down the hill with my three-year-old there right in front of me when I look up and see this guy and his kid SITTING on their sled at the bottom of the hill watching everyone come down. Really? There is no better place to sit and watch people come down than directly in the line of fire?? I swerved at the last minute to save my baby but my big ole foot hit the guy squarely in the back (which I felt he deserved anyway!) and after a few days of limping around I went to the doctor and found out I had a broken foot! Plus now I am a scaredy-cat when it comes to sledding which is a bummer because it is so fun.

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDeb

Are you okay?!!!Seriously. You and your Violet and the big boots could have been...well... I used to be a nurse at the ermergenxy care center at the foot of a ski slope ( Keystone) in Colorado and I can say with certainty that this sort of thing is common and dangerous! one guy had some run away skiier plow into him and wound up with a collapsed lung. You are right about rules. I think violators ought to be fined. So sorry about this accident. Watch for blood in the urine.. increased pain. I hope you feel better, Monica.

January 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergina

This might be my most favoritest post of yours ever.

January 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSarahviz

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