“Daddy, did he just say ‘Radio Song?’”
I froze in horror, suddenly awakened from parental brain fog enroute to swimming lessons.
“FUUUUUCKKKK!!!!!” blared from the speakers. I fumbled with the console trying to skip songs, but it was too late: my kids had learned the F-word from HARDY.
I always make sure to skip “Radio Song” when I’m with my kids. HARDY’s hilarious, genre-bending, middle finger to the country music establishment features A Day to Remember’s Jeremy McKinnon, who delivers the screaming, hard-rock punchline.
It starts with a spoken-word style opening that evokes Beck’s “Loser,” transitions into a vanilla, faux pop-country banger, and then gives way without warning to a heavy-rock symphony of distortion, screams, and precisely nine F-words.
Every time I hear it, I can’t help but smile… except when I’m driving to swim lessons and realize my lyrical savant kids were locked in for at least three of those “f*cks.”
I’m not a hovering, over-protective parent. I let them watch TV, feed them dessert, and openly celebrate Koe Wetzel Day with a family sing-a-long and a trip to Taco Bell.
It was only a matter of time before foul language would enter our dinnertime chats and leave me scrambling to define and explain some wobbly rules and standards for language in our household. Discussing the F-word (and others like it) is in my job description.
But my oldest kid is five and the worst word he knows—as he should—is “stupid.” He wasn’t ready to make the leap to “f*ck” without at least dabbling in “d*mn,” “sh*t,” and “*ss” for a little while. I prayed for forgiveness, deliverance, and wisdom, and tried to change the subject.
“Hey, what do you guys want to listen to? The Mickey Mouse Club? Ghostbusters? Whatever you want!”
They weren’t having it.
“Aww, I like that song,” said the kindergartner, apparently not letting me off easy.
“Hey!” he called to his three-year-old brother. “Sing it with me!”
Thanks to that “redneck f*ck,” HARDY, his profanity-laced “art,” and my negligent management of Spotify’s explicit labels, my innocent son was about to defile his lips with a word I didn’t expect to hear from him until he was at least celebrating double-digit birthdays.
I imagined all the visits to the principal’s office in my future as I watched him bob his head in my rear-view mirror, gearing up to sing “Radio Song.” I shook my head and waited, rehearsing my lecture over and over in my head. And then it happened.
“FAAAAARRRRTTT!!!!” he screamed in his best Jeremy McKinnon impression.
And I saved my lecture for another day.