June 30, 2013

Daddy Don't Want No F-Bomb Droppin' 'Roun' Here

I posted a comment on Facebook not too long ago about what I consider extreme overuse of the f-word.

I'm no prude, but I'm getting pretty tired of encountering that word every time I turn around. When I was younger, I used it more times than I could count, especially in the Navy. Made me feel grown up. Mature. Even today, when my temper gets the best of me, my language gets pretty salty, and sometimes the word squirts out. And as my friend Larry points out, there's something "cathartic about spewing out a rapid-fire string of epithets" when you absolutely must blow your lid. But I'm not proud of it.

And there's a difference here. What you let slip in pain after hitting your thumb with a hammer or bumping your head on a cabinet door really isn't the same as f-ing this or f-ing that while telling a friend how much you saved at a sale at Kohl's, or praising a great new restaurant.

I suspect in some circles, flaunting  the word is considered koowell. I realize. whether I like it or not, I'm now part of the geezer generation. And the F-word is not particularly offensive to many younger than me. However, age and what's koowell isn't the only consideration here. What we say quite often falls on ears for which it wasn't intended.

What would you have thought of your mama, or gran'mama, if they'd have come out with an F-laced string of epithets when you were little? Maybe they did to some of you, but I think your situations were exceptions.

Think about this: Not so long ago – 10, maybe 15 years (Wait until you get a little age on you. It really isn'twon't be that long.) – we heard that word only in rough company; never when the women were present. Now, the "fairer sex" is as bad as us unwashed guys! I don't know how many times, I, the ex-sailor, have been ambushed by a woman who made me think of Samuel L. Jackson talking to Geena Davis in "The Long Kiss Goodnight":

"...You were all, 'Oh fooey! I burnt the darn muffins!' Now, you go into a bar; 10 minutes later, sailors come runnin' out!"

I know, I know, there's a free-speech issue. However, there's also a respect issue. As one of my friends pointed out, just because we have the right to say something doesn't always mean we should. I may tell The Wife, "I think anyone who voted for (fill in the blank) is an idiot." But I won't stand in line at the bank and say, "Anyone who voted for (whomever) is a f.....g idiot!" Even if I believe it.

Nor am I gonna say that sort of thing to my 89-year-old neighbor who's never in her whole life uttered anything stronger than "Oh, beans!" I have too much respect for her.

I've already admitted that sometimes I let my temper run away with my mouth. Not to justify it, but I see that as very different from someone talking with a friend as if nobody else is around and using the f-word as an adverb or adjective (a modern "you know"-type conversation crutch.)

Don't get me wrong. There are times when a well-placed expletive can significantly add to the drama, or humor, or emotion of the moment. Remember the movie, "The 40-Year-Old Virgin?" Nice little movie, yeah. Folks, it contained not one of those moments. It chafed me beyond raw that the wise scriptwriters, being exceedingly wise, decided what that movie really needed was for every fourth or fifth word to be an f-bomb. I almost walked out of my own living room.

I'm really fed up with going to movie after movie just to hear some apparently vocabulary-challenged writer slop that word everywhere, simply because he/she can.

If I know beforehand that's gonna happen, or if I realize the f-word is the overwhelming memory I'll take away, or if I'm caught unawares after I've already bought my ticket, I'll demand my money back in a New York minute! No matter how "critically acclaimed" a film is. It doesn't take a surveyor to know when the line has been crossed.

Someone said profanity contributes to the dumbing down of America. Well, I'm trying to stop my contributions.

...And because of that, maybe I'll just dance...!

March 30, 2013

Reflections During Holy Saturday

Today is the day between Good Friday and Easter. Holy Saturday.

I try to be a bit introspective this one Saturday of the year. I sorta think Christians should use this day – actually, every day of the year – to consider how much we're blessed and what our faith really means/doesn't mean to us.

First, let me say, being a Christian is not being perfect. To me, it's being a sinner who's striving not to. I can only write here what it means to me. It means, first, that I've been blessed beyond anything I've had a right to expect. Beyond measure, as they say. I'm not what generally is seen as a "success." I don't live in a big house, drive a Mercedes or high-dollar Audi. My dog is a mutt that wandered into the neighborhood and adopted me. I'm living off my retirement funds.

The Wife and I, however, are in relatively good health. And even if sometime down the road we have to miss a few meals, we undoubtedly will not miss 'em. We live in our own home, not yet paid for, but not close to being foreclosed on, either. Our kids are on their own and doing well. They're educated, have stayed outta jail and both have someone who loves them. And we have a granddaughter on the way.

Do I wish things were different? Sure. But not so much in my life. I don't like that common sense seems a rare commodity today in our nation. I don't like that we seem to have confused "tolerance" with "approval" in certain cases. As a society, we have awarded credibility way out of proportion to substance, often simply because someone yelled the loudest. We legitimize the trivial and the spectacular. And embrace the easiest way. We're spoiled as a nation.

As life strings out behind me further, I try to view it through responsible Christian eyes. Here are some thoughts my faith has born:

I think the only way mankind can define life's beginning is at conception. Any other point is arbitrary. Therefore, abortion is justified only under the same laws covering self-protection or mercy. Everything else are killings of convenience. (I know this will outrage certain of my friends, but I believe this is the only moral view.)

Having said that, a "Christian" church that disrupts a burial or memorial service to attain its own ends is not acting in a Christian manner. Nor is a pro-lifer who kills an abortion doctor or bombs an abortion clinic. He/She is no different than a terrorist.

I do not try to thrust my Christian views upon others. If I am invited or see someone obviously hurting and I can offer comfort with my faith, I may offer it. I am, however, just as affronted when a Christian is painted as intolerant, selfish or bigoted, as Jews, Moslems, or ethnic minorities are when characterized as money-grubbing, camel jockeying or water-melon-eating or some other slur. It bothers me that in certain circles here in the U.S., it's trendy to knock Christians.

(A side note: When someone criticizes a church as "just a bunch of hypocrites," I reply, "Of course! We're sinners! That's why He established His church!")

I can sympathize with some libertarian, some liberal, or some conservative values without  buying into all of them. That doesn't mean I'm a crackpot. It only means I am a thinking Christian.

We don't seem to have learned much from recent history. The USSR fell largely because the government destroyed the people's incentive. When everyone was equally rewarded, regardless of how much or little they performed, nobody had anything for which to strive. Now, we're heading down that same road through "nanny government." Our involvement in Vietnam should have taught us not to get caught up in interventionary wars in foreign lands. Yet, today we seem to be racing down that road in a souped-up troop carrier.

What does any of that have to do with faith? It shows me that if we keep electing people who have no moral base, we as a nation eventually will have no moral base. And whether you like it or not, Christianity was the moral base upon which this nation was founded.

In my faith, only one thing stands really important: The belief that Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God, died to atone for our sins. Nothing else really matters. That's the supreme blessing – and the single shining purpose of Easter is to remind us of that.

May there come a day when in Heaven...we can all just dance...!

January 5, 2013


I have a question...or two:

Why is the hot water tap on the left and the cold on the right?

Why are the seams in our clothes, especially socks, on the inside where they're more likely to irritate us, instead of the outside, where they're not?

Why do politicians promise and pledge things they KNOW they can't deliver; then totally ignore them after they're elected?

...And why do we keep re-electing these bozos?

Why don't food companies offer low-sodium versions of ALL their products?

...And why do they cost more even though they have less ingredients?

Do reporters really believe they're objective?

Why are instructions on prescription bottles printed so small you need a microscope to read them?

Can anybody tell me why the F-word is now acceptable in almost all venues except church?

Do people really need warnings telling them not to use a hairdryer in the shower?

And while we're on that subject...

Why would the instructions on a plumber's helper say, "Caution: Do not use near power lines?"

...or the label on a bottle of hair coloring warn against using it "as an ice cream topping?"

How come you hardly ever hear a whole song on the radio without the DJ talking over it?

And why do the people who write and make movies think they must "educate" us in their way of thinking?

...And what idiot really believes that LaLaLand and San Francisco are the centers of true American values?

Does the label on a mattress truly need to warn us not to try swallowing it?

Does a six-year-old pointing his finger at another student and saying, "Bang!" warrant his suspension from school?

...And does the entertainment industry really believe the kid was NOT influenced by something he saw on TV?

Are we so stupid, we need to be cautioned by a pepper spray label never to "aim spray at your own eyes?"

Another question that's been burning inside me: why does the warning on an Auto-Shade Windshield Visor tell us, "Do not drive with sunshade in place...?"

Why in Heaven's name would we need the label on Fix-a-Flat to tell us, "Do not weld can to rim?"

...Or a label to warn us to "not consume" Home Depot Treated Lumber?

...Or never to use a Rowenta Iron to "iron clothes on the body?"

Do not the great majority of parents KNOW to "remove infant before folding (a portable stroller) for storage?"

Why do media types insist on using every new, "trendy" phrase or word until we're absolutely sick of hearing it?

...And then using it some more?

Why can't we all just get along?



Finally, maybe I've led a sheltered life, but I can't imagine why anyone would need to be told that the hotel-provided shower cap in the box he/she is about to open "fits one head."

Got any burning questions of your own? Please, send 'em in here, and we'll discuss 'em...or cuss 'em, whichever is appropriate.

If not, maybe we'll all just dance....