I want you to keep what I am about to tell you to yourself. Don't tell anyone. I mean it! What I am about to disclose is embarrassing to me, and I would hate for anyone to know about it.
Hold your breath. Don't keel over in surprise. Ready?
Here it is: I have been known, on occasion, to use a bad word or two. I'm not proud of it, but there it is. When I whack my thumb with a hammer, when I drop my keys into a snow bank or a mud puddle, when someone backs into my car in a parking lot and doesn't leave a note, I am likely to use an expletive, usually that very versatile one that is often used as adjective, noun, verb or adverb. You know which one I mean, don't you? Chances are you might have used it yourself, once or twice.
Just knowing that I am not the only one to use such language, especially under very trying circumstances, doesn't make me feel any better about it. I dislike hearing others utter numerous variations of that word in sentence after sentence. In fact, in some conversations, often it is the sentence that doesn't contain some variant of that word that stands alone, unusual, strange.
Movies? Cable TV shows? Stand-up Comedians? Take out all of the effing effs and what is left? No dialogue. No jokes.
My son and I like to watch the show "Entourage" on cable TV. It offers interesting characters, interesting scenarios, and lots of colourful language. Would the situations be less 'real' without the vulgarity? I don't think so, but then I appear to be really out of touch with reality sometimes.
As I was unpacking and organizing things in our new home yesterday, I could hear workmen outside yelling at each other as they worked. For two or more hours, I heard dialogue like this:
"Hurry effing up! Move the effing thing over there."
"What the eff is your problem?"
"Didn't you effing hear what I effing said to you, you stupid eff?"
And so on.
Everyone in the block must have hear this. Was I the only one who raised an eyebrow at the language? It seems that way. In shopping malls, on the sidewalks of our city, in restaurants, in fact just about everywhere, language like this erupts from teenagers and adults alike. Why is that?
Is it laziness? Is there a need in us to utter sentences of a certain minimum number of syllables, and in the absence of a developed vocabulary we use every effing variant we can think of? Is it perhaps because of the bad boy or bad girl cachet that we think accompanies the use of language like this, and the notion that it sets us apart from everyone else somehow? If so, how can that be, if everyone else is doing the same thing? And if we really want to be different, why can't we just wear stripes when everyone else is wearing polka dots or vice versa?
I just wish that everyone would make an effing effort to try and clean up their effing language. I really do give a flying eff and don't want my son to speak that way.
I guess it had better start with me, hadn't it? I am, after all, the example my son is most likely to follow.
I'll do my best.