How I Learned the "N" Word

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A story about a young man who learns a racial slur.

Submitted: May 09, 2012

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Submitted: May 09, 2012

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My parents were always taking me all around the country looking for the "miracle treatment." This time I was with my father in Walnut Creek, California for some chiropractic work with Dr. Keith Modenbach. We drove into town and checked into a Holiday Inn with a 50's style diner attached to it. "That'll be good for breakfast tomorrow." Said my Father. "It sure will be." I said in reply. We got to our room #244, and the first thing I did was turn on the t.v. and ordered the pay-per-view movie "The Waterboy" with Adam Sandler. "Dammit Jack, said my father, that's gonna cost me money." "I'm sorry daddy." I said. I went to bed that night with the anticipation of what Dr. Modenbach was going to do to my body the following day. The next day arrived without a cloud in the sky. It definently did not foreshadow the storm that I was going to have with my father later that day. On the way to Dr. Modenbach's we stopped at K-Mart so my father could buy me some play dough. It was always nervewracking being worked on by Dr. Modenbach, so I always liked to have something in my hands to release some nervous energy. When we got to the toy aisle I spotted the play dough right away, and the reason it caught my eye was beacuse it was black. I had never seen black play dough before. I knew I had to have it, and I knew my father would buy it for me. He was a constant spoiler. He bought me the play dough, and we left the store and headed to Dr. Modenbach's. Now, if you want to know the first thing about me, I will tell you that I love to read. During this trip I was reading Reader's Digest's version of Gulliver's Travels. Me being the constant joker dropped my book through the mail slot of Dr. Modenbach's office. Almost instantaneously he walked out the door with my book in hand. "Oh, it's you guys, he said to my father and me, I thought the mailman had dropped me a gift, they're always bringing me the weirdest things." And with that he returned my book. All three of us then entered his office and my treatment began. I pulled out my black play dough the moment he started to crack my bones. Once that was done he just started to rub my body. That relaxed me quite a bit. It relaxed me so much that I was able to pick up a People Magazine and read it. Now, something critical that you must know is that this was the summer after the Columbine tragedy occured. The People Magazine I had picked up was totally devoted to the Columbine tragedy. I picked it up and started to read. One of the surviors recalled hearing one of the gunmen say "Where is that ni**er?" I showed my father the magazine and asked him what that word was. "Jack never mind about that. It's really, really bad." That shut me up, and it shut me up fast. I finished my morning treatment and Dr. Modenbach told us to return in the afternoon for more. We climbed into the car and headed back to the hotel. On the drive my father said to me, "Jack the word in the magazine was nigger, and I never want to hear you say it. It's a derogatory term for a African American." That just made me want to say it over and over again. "Nigger, nigger, nigger." I said. My father slammed on the brakes, and got out of the car and whooped me right there in the middle of traffic. After that I will never forget the day I learned the "n" word.


© Copyright 2019 Patrick Pugh. All rights reserved.

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