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I try not to swear. I know it’s unbecoming to a refined, sophisticated lady like me. And it’s not attractive in a grisly macho-manly-man, either. It’s the primary language of thugs, criminals and wanna-be-cools. But sometimes the only way to truly capture the sentiments of an occasion is to, well, let’er rip—bark a word that really smacks of emotion!

I try to be a good example and most of the

time, speak in my triple-G-rated voice. (Good Girl Gail!) But every once in a while I just gotta throw something out with a little more bite. Like the “S” word. Now that’s a word with the power to shrivel! If you ever hear me say SNAP! you’ll know that I’m at my absolute wits end. Let me explain.

One day in a moment of sheer insanity, I decide to take some of my grandchildren to the movies. Three three-year-olds. How hard can it be?

I have the foresight to slip four boxes of store-bought candy into my bag so I won’t have to pay the exorbitant price of theatre candy. I herd the quail, I mean three-year-olds to their seats. Before the previews are in full swing, I hear four words more foul to my ears than a rapper-convict-sailor who’s hit his thumb with a hammer: I gotta go potty!

Argh! I can’t take one and leave the other two unattended, so I lug them all to the ladies room, where they each go into a stall.

“Do you need any help?” I ask in a fakely pleasant voice? Of course they don’t. That would hurry things up and three-year-olds like to take their time. Five minutes go by and I ask again.

From the first stall I hear, “I’m still going poo poo.”’

From the second: “Can somebody wipe me?”

From the third: Silence. I look under the door and see a pile of clothes and dangling bare feet. Really?

The toilet flushes and stall one opens. “Stay right there!” I demand. I do the honors in stall two and proceed to three. The kid has completely stripped for the procedure. Okay, I’ve got this. Sorta. Ever try dressing an obstinate eel in a 2x3 box? I emerge to find a pursed-lipped lady who apparently came in mid-circus. She narrows her eyes and I can only imagine what she is thinking.

When all three have washed their hands with mountains of foaming soap and fought over the blow dryer, we stumble over a dozen legs and feet back to our seats. I pass the candy and settle in, opening my own box of Snaps—you know, those delectable hollow pieces of licorice, coated with a hardened glaze of white, pink and green. Mmmm! I could eat them like candy.

After the movie I’m the one that needs to go potty. We hit the restroom again and I tell the kids to stay put. Of course, when I come out they’re gone. I find two without much difficulty but the third is nowhere to be seen. Now I'm dragging a creature in each hand and shouting, “Have you seen a little boy?”

People stare at me. I sit the two down and threaten them. Do not budge! I go outside and look around frantically. He’s nowhere! I try to come back in but the door is one-way and has locked behind me. Ahhh! I’m losing it! Making my way back around to the entrance, I grab an employee who gets the manager. Strangers join in to scour the premises but to no avail. Now I really have lost it!

Finally, someone finds him curled up asleep in the bottom of a video game car. Exhausted and in tears I thank all the people who helped with the search. They scowl at me disapprovingly and I wonder why they aren’t more empathetic?

I speed home, vowing to make this my last gremlin-grandkid outing. I head for the bathroom for some alone time to swear. When I look in the mirror I am horrified. My face, chin, mouth and teeth are stained bright pink and green from the Snaps. Ohmygosh, I look like a raging lunatic!

I probably should have had my mouth washed out with soap at this point, and not because of the candy residue. Suffice it to say, SNA-AP! Excuse my potty mouth.

*Favorite Response: "That's a hell of a story!" It's all true!