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Herb Green Discusses his Finances in Four-letter Words

January 9th, 2010 · 5 Comments · Allegory or Fairy Tale, American Humor, Canada Humor, Clash of the Sexes, Corruption, Crossed Wires, Cute, Difficult Decisions, Economic Humor, Economics, Entertainment, Family, Family Humor, General Humor, General Interest, Green Environment, Hard Life Choices, Human Nature, Jokes, Lifestyle, Outrageous, Poem, Poetry, Prose Poetry, Puns, Romance, Sardonic, Satire, Slice of Life, Surprise Twists, Twisted, Whimsy, Witty

Alex Carrick

Herb Green was frustrated beyond containment. His toxic mood might have been possible to deal with except he had newly acquired a truly foul vocabulary. He started swearing like Regan in The Exorcist. Furthermore, he lacked the originality to be entertaining in his gross verbiage. No, he was disgusting to listen to. His wife, Wanda, was really fed up with him. She had once dated a rapper and swore she would never again breathe in that kind of atmosphere.


Under normal circumstances, Herb was a soft-spoken decent man. But these were not normal times. In fact, these were the most difficult economic times ever experienced by someone of Herb’s age. He knew about the Great Depression through what he’d learned in school. Even his father was a child in the Dirty 30s. Herb wasn’t equipped to handle the emotional roller coaster that saw him lose all his money and go deeply into debt in the latest Great Recession.


Now he swore and cursed about his depleted finances all day long. He turned the air blue with his ranting. Wanda instituted a new rule in the house. Every time Herb cursed, he had to put a one-dollar IOU in a large glass jar. In quick order, Herb was in debt by another $1,000. This distressed and depressed him even further. That is, until he came up with a novel idea.


Herb discussed his proposal with Wanda. She claimed that every second word out of his mouth was a swear word. Herb loved his wife, but there were times when he found her to be too uptight. Nevertheless, he knew he’d gone too far. He set his mind to the task of making relations with Wanda better again. And it wouldn’t hurt if he could get the extra $1,000 debt off his back.


Herb asked Wanda if she would free him from his cuss-jar obligation under condition he complete a “quest.” He promised to write a description of how his financial failings were affecting him, using primarily four-letter words, but in a manner to which she would not object. If he could write a lengthy diatribe that was 50% comprised of acceptable four-letter words, would she put aside the matter of the outstanding chits. “Yes,” she said and the challenge was on.


Wanda went to bed. Herb went to work. He sat down at his computer keyboard. It was a herculean struggle. His composition began as a scattering of words and phrases. To hone his alertness, he drank one cup of coffee after another. Pretty soon, it was past midnight. He began to make some progress. By 2:30 a.m., the journey was well underway. It wasn’t until 6:00 a.m. that he was finished. Herb pulled an all-nighter. When Wanda rose in the morning to prepare for the day ahead, the following is what she found taped to the door of the master bedroom’s bathroom.


Sure, fate, kick my rear,

I’ve got nothing left to fear.


Greed and envy were my goad,

high interest rate my heavy load.


Bond, loan and cash lost on the crash,

illusory glitter a dash, I acted rash.


Markets turn sour

for stock and gold holdings.

Bear-after-bull timing

is crucial for foldings.


Gear up for rain,

turn on the sump pump.

Move from gain to pain,

when one fails to lump dump.


Urge reader beware,

don’t follow my strategy.

Buy high and sell low

is no good for one’s sanity.


There’s a hard lesson to learn

when fleeced by a liar.

Loot, steal, rob and burn

by my financial adviser.


He fled the city and took all my pay.

Must find my broker some extra fine day.


Suntan your face, feet, ears, back and limbs.

Drink rum and coke and sink in your sins.


At my dear cost, laze and daze on a beach.

To kill will be kindness, when you I do reach.


Hope almost shot,

Don’t snub my spun song.

Rant and rave slow from trot,

to stop and wave so long.


Wanda read the note. She was stunned. She hadn’t thought Herb had it in him. There were moments of doggerel, but the basic story was all there in outline.


Besides, she was always encouraging Herb to open up about his feelings. Okay, this wasn’t so much about his feelings for her, but it was a second-best effort. Maybe she’d cut him some slack.


WANDA: So did you do it? Are the italicized words half of the total?


HERB: They are if you include the title.


WANDA: And what’s the title?


HERB: Two more four-letter words. “Enuf Said.” That’s enuf spelled E-N-U-F.


WANDA: Okay, we both know that’s a bit of a cheat. But I’m going to rule in your favor.  


And that’s the way they left it. Wanda relieved Herb of his debt. She was proud of her man. He had faced adversity and was in the process of coming through unbowed, if not quite triumphant. Furthermore, she took pride in the role she had played in cleaning up the verbal environment.


On his side, Herb was pleased too. He was back in Wanda’s good graces, the nagging eased and the extra $1,000 for his foul-mouthed ways was forgiven. Plus, there was one financial worry that would no longer be hanging over his head. He was thrilled he wouldn’t have to incur the additional expense involved in hiring a magician to pull the pickle out of his wife’s butt.


Once the floodgates have been opened, there’s no stopping the poetry, as in Ode to Canada’s National Game (no, not hockey).


For my first book, “Two Scoops” Is Just Right, please click here for the paperback version and here for the Kindle e-book version.

For the sequel, “Three Scoops” Is A Blast! (with the award-winning “Size of the Skip”) click here for paperback and here for Kindle.

For “Four Scoops” Is Over The Top (containing Hemingway short-listed “Caboose Follies”) click here for paperback and here for Kindle.

And finally, for my latest book, “Five Scoops” Is An Addiction!, please click here for the paperback and here for the Kindle digital version.

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5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Kim Batchelor // Jan 15, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Funny story, Alex. I especially like “He turned the air blue with his ranting. ” One suggestion that I think would improve the story is to add some dialogue at the beginning, and give us the moment where his vocabulary changed; e.g., a particular event?

    Thanks for the read.

  • 2 Tim Remp // Jan 15, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Hey Alex,

    I enjoy your story and the style you used to present it.

    I also agree with Kim, I would have like to see some dialog in the beginning too.

    Fun, never the less 😉

  • 3 Marisa Birns // Jan 15, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Ooh, I never saw The Exorcist because I was afraid it was too close to home. I lived in the Georgetown area in Washington, DC and THOSE steps were a scant few blocks from my house!

    But I can imagine the cursing.

    Not afraid of this story, though. You had me laughing and enjoying.

  • 4 ganymeder // Jan 16, 2010 at 4:24 am

    Cute and funny story!

  • 5 CJ // Jan 17, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Ha! Having quite the foul mouth myself – it was fun to see the original way he tries to get the “pickle out of his wife’s butt”. Very cool & original! (Nice verse, too.)

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