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...!

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