Saturday, February 27, 2010
"Scuz Bucket" No More!
For many years, dating back to when I was a little tyke, I used the term “Scuz Bucket” to describe a person, including myself, who was in need of a bath or some clean clothes. After a day of playing baseball in the hot sun, I would come home and say, “Mom, I am a Scuz Bucket. I need a shower – fast!” After some grooming and some clean clothes, I would no longer be a Scuz Bucket!
In fact, the term “Scuz Bucket” was eventually picked up by my friends and other family members. As you might have guessed, when I would call a friend to see if he wanted to go somewhere with me, if the friend was in need of a shower, he would have said, “Sure, but right now I’m a Scuz Bucket”.
All of us would use it day in and day out to describe each other, ourselves, or others as the term needed to be applied. In short, “Scuz Bucket” became an integrated part of our vernacular, as much as did mom, dad, and apple pie!
So, it stood to reason that the term “Scuz Bucket” would continue to be a part of my regular speech when my children were born. Instead of saying, “Wow, you’re dirty and you need a bath”, I would say, “Wow, what a Scuz Bucket, let’s get you a bath”! Or, it was not unusual for one of my kids to say, “Wow, dad, I’ve been playing in the sun all day. I feel like a “Scuz Bucket’”.
In our family, the term “Scuz Bucket” was applied with love (yes, it is possible to do that!) and caring. It was never meant for the purpose of harm. I loved the term, our kids loved the term, and it was used throughout our home like, well, the terms of mom, dad, and apple pie!
The term “Scuz Bucket” would most likely never have been an issue, had it continued to be used solely in the home with family members or in interactions with friends.
HOWEVER, on one very hot and sunny Saturday afternoon, my kids and I stopped at a 7-11 store for some delicious Slurpees (check my post from September 19, 2009, to learn of the importance of Slurpees in our home!). Yes, on this hot day of 95 degrees with no breeze, a Slurpee would hit the spot and all would be well with the world.
After we had made our selections, we were waiting in line to pay when a tough-looking gentleman entered the store. He had the classic look of a guy who had been working ALL DAY in the hot sun. He was filthy, his white t-shirt was nearly black, his jeans were covered with dirt and mud, and his pants were ripped at the knees. Clearly, he had spent his day working in the yard, garden, planting trees, or digging ditches. Or, with his obvious physical strength, he could have spent the day lifting greasy cars over the fence for all that I knew!
I looked at the gentleman and I noted that he looked like he really needed a Slurpee or two. In fact, I was admiring the level of work in which he must have been engaged all day on a hot and sunny summer afternoon.
At the moment of my admiration, my oldest son (about 4 years old at the time) walked up to me with a sense of urgency as he said in a soft but urgent voice, “Dad, dad, that guy is a Scuz bucket”!!!! OUCH!
Fortunately, my son whispered his observation, so the tough-guy gentleman did not hear my son’s observation and my immediate health outlook was still looking pretty good! Of course, I told my son that we could not discuss it in the store and to wait until we got back to the car. He seemed perplexed and rightfully so. I had just told him to not speak about a term that we had liberally used in our home!
After we got to the car, I told all three kids that, although the term had been appropriately applied in the 7-11, from now on, the term “Scuz Bucket” could only be used in our house, as it might offend others!!
Yes, a quick lesson at the 7-11 for my kids ……… and their dad! It’s amazing how quickly that you can provide lessons for all when your life flashes in front of you with a tough-looking gentleman at a 7-11!
So, how about you? Have you ever had a family tradition, used in love and caring, that later rose to embarrass you in public? If so, let me know!
Paul W. Reeves