The Horror of Syntax

09/23/2014 04:41 pm ET Updated Nov 23, 2014

There comes a point in listening to a young man's conversation on the subway where you wonder just how many times, grammatically and with proper syntax, can he say "f*ckin" and for it to all fit into his thesis properly. As a verb, as an interjection, as an adjective. All relevant. It is actually an amazing number. About seven. One sentence. F*ck, seven times. Accurate.

"The f*ckin scariest movie I... f*ckin... I f*ckin ever seen in my f*ckin life," he began, "which I've ever yet to f*ckin finish, because that shit is f*ckin' scary, is The f*ckin Exorcist." This is a direct quote. Verbatim. I was impressed.

I've never seen it, The Exorcist. My horror movie career ended at 14 when my chorus group, yes, chorus, had a Halloween party and played a movie called Witch Blade. Fifteen years later, I realize that's not the correct title, but I come from Rhode Island where letters and even entire words are incorrectly tacked on any old place, so really, the title could be anything. But, it was something about a haunted Ouija board that killed people. Logical. Nevertheless, my junior high self viewed the first cinematic beheading at a seemingly placid abandoned construction site and I was down for the count. I spent the remainder of the evening hanging out on the porch pretending to fit in with the cool girls because, well, at 14 who wouldn't want to fit in with the cool girls.

At the end of the party, there was a Yankee Swap (or White Elephant Exchange). You know, where you blindly select a gift brought by someone in your office who you don't know well (or in this case, chorus group) and you hope you end up with something you can actually use (or in this case, some plastic shit from your 14-year-old self's crush) and inevitably, you're swayed into selecting a brown paper bag wrapped up by the mother of that awkward kid, filled with a couple canisters of Silly Putty. Silly Putty? How old is your kid, lady? And you unabashedly trade the garbage in not caring who brought it or who is now silently upset. You want the plastic shit from that cool kid who hit puberty a little sooner than most. In retrospect, you learn via Facebook that he became ultra-Republican and well, nobody can tolerate that level of misinformed judgment; also, "cool chorus kid", I should have understood the oxymoron then. But here's your moment. You say, "I'll give you my brown paper bag filled with fucking Silly Putty, for your green gift bag containing I don't know what." You win. You win the thing in the green bag. It's a battery operated raccoon tail that rolls around like a rodent in a bag. You hadn't realized shitty gag gifts were commonplace here. Your mom had delivered you with a thoughtful gift certificate to Sam Goody.

And that is why I dislike horror movies.