The kids in my fifth grade class had all sorts of cool things I didn't, like expanded cable packages and inattentive parents who let them watch South Park.
I spent the whole year laughing along awkwardly to their best Cartman impressions, wondering if I could get away with throwing "Oh my God, they killed Kenny!" into a conversation or if it would just seem forced.
The following summer, I observed dejectedly as South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut was released in theaters, resigned to my fate as a pariah who had never actually seen Kenny die. And then one day, Meemaw took me to the movies.
I skipped innocently up the steps to the ticket counter and saw it--the theatrical poster gleaming like a beacon from its frame near the entrance. I never expected to find such forbidden treasure right here, at my hometown movie theater. Surely such a hip, artful film would only be shown in meccas of civilization like New York, or Los Angeles, or Pensacola. This was my redeeming chance at coolness, a shining moment in which adulthood was being offered to me by a benevolent universe.
The movie opens with a relatively benign song about the quiet mountain town of South Park, where Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny are on their way to the new Terrance & Philip movie. To someone unfamiliar with the show, this would seem like just another animated musical, albeit with a weird sense of humor. I watched raptly, following every lyric, finally seeing with my own fresh, unadulterated eyes the controversial cartoon that had captivated my friends all year.
Then the boys finally see Terrance & Philip: Asses of Fire, which opens with the aptly titled song, "Shut Your Fucking Face, Uncle Fucker." Those are, incidentally, also the main lyrics of the song.
As "Uncle Fucker" blared from the surround-sound system and two cartoon Canadians hopped around the screen, lighting each other's farts on fire, I was suddenly painfully aware of the fact that my grandmother was sitting next to me, hearing every "uncle fucker" and "cock sucker." Her reaction would likely be somewhat different than mine.
Certain that I was about to be escorted out of this movie theater in shame, I stole a glance in Meemaw's direction.
She was asleep. Bored with the first few minutes of this cartoon musical that clearly only her granddaughter would enjoy, she had fallen asleep.
This was a certifiable miracle. I truly was divinely ordained to see every perverted, foul-mouthed minute of this movie. I drank in every precious curse word, devoured every scrap of sarcasm and social commentary, even the subtle nuances that were still beyond my maturity level, and I laughed along with that audience of eighteen-to-twenty-four-year-olds like one who had reached the promised land.
And unlike the kids in the movie, when I got home, I was smart enough to keep quiet about all the new words I'd learned. For a few more years, anyway.