I have a very close relationship with profanity. We’re practically family; we go everywhere together. We walk, hand-in-hand, past playgrounds filled with virgin-eared children, and through the vestibules at work, busy with phone calls to clients and tele-conferences with the boss. We dine together daily and attend all the same classes.
But this is a problem.
A big problem.
I have come to realize that my artistic and emphatic use of four-letter words isn’t often appreciated, and in many cases, it elicits a dirty look or a lecture on the inappropriateness of my habitual speech patterns. I don’t think I can count on both my hands how many times I’ve been thrown out of class for casually dropping the F-Bomb.
My attempts at arguing that I am a product of my environment, and my environment is based on swearing have been quickly put down. It’s always countered with its lack of professionalism and the effects it has on young ears. “You don’t want them to grow up talking like you, do you?” they say.
Of course not. I’ll be the first to admit that swearing is a terrible habit. There’s nothing more repulsive than a group of fifth-graders walking around spouting profanity like the rest of the English language has been surgically removed from their brains. The steady stream of obscenities emanating from any given dorm room, my own included, is appalling, let alone the neighbor kids’ swing set.
I’ll admit, there are worse things to be worried about. It is a variably dangerous world in which we live. We have become hardened, calloused, desensitized to the moral, ethical and social ills we face daily. The precious few words that used to make us blush have made their way into classrooms, television and civil conversation. What’s next?
Is it going to be generally acceptable to weave a line of unabashed profanity into conversations with the boss? Are we going to hear toddlers gurgling between strings of monosyllabic expletives? Are high school English teachers going to stop blushing at the sight of the word ‘ass’ in print?
I don’t know, and to be perfectly honest with you, I don’t care. I’ll probably keep swearing, and thinking it’s a disgusting habit, regardless. But until the day when everyone; including the very young, the very old, and the very professional; think the only definition of swear is to take an oath, I’m going to try, the key word, there, being try, to curb my enthusiasm, my artistry, and my mouth
We have all heard about sticks and stones hurting us worse than words.
While I lose absolutely no sleep over people cursing in my presence, I loath being told not to use certain words.
Let me tell you a little story about myself and a fellow former editor of mine. A few months ago, this person took exception to my frequent cursing in the newsroom. So, she began a “swear jar,” as an earnest attempt to curb my foul language habits. This ridiculous implementation led to two note-worthy ends.
The first was the fact that I went out of my way to excessively curse in front of her, just to piss her off. The second was that I stole the swear jar money, all five dollars and change.
Now, I have no problem with this person whatsoever. But calling a spade a spade, this is a woman so offset by my use of four-letter words that she went out and got a swear jar. A SWEAR JAR! Yet, my esteemed and very kind colleague has no qualms whatsoever about putting a bullet right square between a deer’s antlers.
My point is that cursing is so often poo-poo’d by people who hold a false sense of superiority over their peers. Do I curse a lot? Damn straight. Does it make me a bad person? I don’t believe so. The moment someone tells me I can’t curse, or I shouldn’t curse, I am challenged to find as many expletives as possible to use in one sentence. Just because a person curses, that doesn’t mean the person is dim-witted or uneducated. Sometimes there just is no better word to think of for a situation.
In seventh and eighth grade, I had an English teacher who cursed in every class. While this may sound crude for a middle school teacher to do, this person was able to break through to many uninterested or otherwise jaded students just by using simple curse words.
As a society, we have been censored from certain words. We have become so accustomed to seeing dollar signs and asterisks in the way of Fs and Ks, that we are numb to the true meaning of the words. Because of such effects, many people have become so uptight about hearing such words, that their virginal ears just seem to melt when hearing the word. Well I say, wake up people!
There are far greater concerns in today’s society that can be debated about. The least of which are war, abortion rights, homelessness and terrorism. If the worst thing that can happen to you in a day is simply hearing a “bad” word, then I envy your ignorance and the subsequent bliss that accompanies it.
Posted to the web by Steph Mangold