The curse

R. Crumb

Theaterlovers are having a hard time these days. All theaters are closed and it doesn't look like they will reopen soon.
Luckily, there is still something like natural theater. Free theater. Unscripted, undirected drama. This will never close down.
The opening scene I missed, as well as the ending; I only saw the middle. But the middle was good by itself.
A man in shorts with a funny hat on was sitting on a bench on the other side of the canal, cursing loudly. Not just for a few seconds. He was going on for what seemed ten, fifteen, twenty minutes. He repeated the same curse over and over again, one the heaviest in Dutch. Even I hesitate to use the word, because I'm conditioned, I guess, to avoid it. (Perhaps I'm afraid of inflation.)
Two men were sitting on another bench, close to the cursing man, and tried to ignore him. What else could they do? The man was cursing 'like a boat worker' and he showed no signs of quitting.
After a while it occurred to me that the curse stayed the same, but not the intonations; wittingly or not, the man attached different feelings to his curse. I was surprised by the many different ways you can say godverdomme. (Yes, go ahead and try this at home.)
Meanwhile, how was I supposed to interpret the play? The cursing man didn't seem to be suffering from Gilles de la Tourette. This was no tic. This was some sort of expression of anger. Monotonous, yes, but still. Was he under the influence? I guess so, but that didn't impact the power of his cursing.
Eventually, the man stood up, got into an argument with the other two men (I thought I heard someone say you are insulting my religion), and just when I thought, this could get out of hand, who came by, on an old bike, with a huge snow white beard?
God himself. He looked happy.

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