Description: "The" word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words, the "F-dash-dash-dash’ word” accidentally uttered by young Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) while helping his dad change a tire in the film A Christmas Story (1983).
Shocked at what came out of his son’s mouth, Mr. Parker (Darrin McGavin) inquires, “WHAT did you say?" Ralphie stammers, “Uh, um…” Disappointed, Mr. Parker says, “That’s…what I thought you said. Get in the car. Go on!”
Fearing for his life, Ralphie mournfully muses:
“It was all over. I was dead. What would it be? The guillotine? Hanging? The chair? The rack? The Chinese water torture? Hmmph. Mere child's play compared to what surely awaited me.”
For his punishment, Ralphie has to stick a bar of soap in his mouth until his mother decides he has learned his lesson. As he sits gagging on the soap, the adult Ralphie narrating the story reflects:
“Over the years I got to be quite a connoisseur of soap. Though my personal preference was for Lux, I found that Palmolive had a nice, piquant after-dinner flavor - heavy, but with a touch of mellow smoothness. Lifebuoy, on the other hand...YECCHH!”
Another example of foul language, well not a bad as the "F" word, occurs when the phrase, “You’re full of beans and so’s your old man!” is heard during a school yard argument between two young boys, Schwartz (R. D. Robb) and Flick (Scott Schwartz), about whether or not a person’s tongue will freeze to a cold metal object.
Schwartz’s Dad says a person’s tongue will stick to a cold surface while Flick’s Dad says it couldn’t happen. When Schwartz tosses out a “double dog dare” and then “triple dog dare” Flick touches the tip of his tongue against the flagpole and is sorely surprised to discover it grips tightly.
Flick cries out for help but all his classmates upon hearing the schoolyard bell, flee back to class and leave poor Flick standing alone in the snow waving his arms and frantically shouting for help.
Finally, extricated from the pole by members of both the fire and police departments, Flick returns to his classroom with bandaged tongue while his teacher Miss Shields gives his classmates a good tongue lashing for goading Flick into trying the silly stunt.
Another unpleasant phrase heard in the movie, (at least to Ralphie) is the warning “You’ll shoot your eye out! You’ll shoot your eye out!” You see, Ralphie desperately wants a Red Ryder BB rifle for Christmas. Unfortunately, at every turn, he hears his mother warn, “You’ll shoot your eye out.”
In school, Ralphie writes a “What I want for Christmas” theme paper, but even his teacher Miss Shields (Tedde Moore) is against him. On the bottom of his graded paper, Ralphie finds the message, “P.S. You’ll shoot your eye out.” And to make matters worse, the Santa Claus at the local department store is also part of the conspiracy to keep Ralphie from getting his gun.
Finally, Christmas comes, and low and behold, Ralphie’s dad gives him a Red Ryder BB gun. Rushing outside into the backyard, Ralphie shoots his gun, but the BB ricochets and hits Ralphie glasses, shattering his lens (“Oh my God, I shot my eye out!”).
Astonished, Ralphie thinks quickly, starts crying and then blames his accident on a huge icicle that allegedly fell off the roof. His mother commiserates, “Ralphie, you're lucky it didn't cut your eye! Those icicles have been known to kill people.”
Note: Raphie’s father is a master of vulgarity and can cuss up a storm of obscenity. Of course, the audience is only allowed to hear bits and pieces of his tirades.
Ralphie as an adult reminisces:
“Now, I had heard that word at least ten times a day from my old man. He worked in profanity the way other artists might work in oils or clay. It was his true medium; a master....In the heat of battle my father wove a tapestry of obscenities that as far as we know is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan.”
Once as Mr. Parker repairs the furnace in the basement, these muffled words work their way upstairs through the vents:
"That blasted, stupid furnace! Dadgummit! Oh for cripe's sake, open up that damper, will ya? Who the hell turned it all the way down? Hawk head! Aw, blasted poop flirt rattle crap camel flirt. You blonker frattle feet sturckle frat! Of a womp sack butt ratter bottom fodder... ...smick melly whop walker. Drop dumb fratten house stickle fifer!"
The consequences of his father’s bouts with curse words culminates when Ralphie gets into a heated fight with the neighborhood bully and lets loose a volley of punches and just about every word he’s ever heard his father utter. This act shocks and delights the youthful onlookers at the event.