Daily GUIDE-ance:

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Friggin Heck

Bleeeah… many thoughts today, some of which are:

Profanity. I guess I am thinking about this because of the new job. After a few days of my being there, a couple people, I think, noticed that there was something lacking from my typical vocabulary, because they started checking to see if I was offended by their use of the F word, etc.

In my life, I have had a couple verbal exchanges like this, where a friend/coworker will cuss then look at me and apologize. My response is usually to laugh and say: "Dude- knock yourself out. Why would I care?"

This is not the textbook response that you hear about in churchy places. Those typically go more like: "Well, thank you for the apology, I love you anyway." And then the other guy gets all quiet and scuffs their toe in the dirt and there is a moment and they start to cry. I'm not trying to say my response is better or worse... I'm just telling you what usually pops out of my mouth in that situation.

But the fact is, I don’t know why I don’t cuss myself. (Actually I do cuss, a bit, when nobody else is around. I don’t know why that is either. ) And then again- it all depends on how you define cussing. I say gosh, gee, crap, heck, dang, darn, screw you, butt, and fiddle-dee-dee all the time. I can not see any logical reason why those words are any better than… certain other words. I don’t really have a reason for avoiding some terms and not avoiding others- it’s just a habit/ instinct, mostly due to what words I could and could not get away with when I was a kid.

Cusswords seem to fall into two categories mainly: Religious and Bodily function. I can actually see a good reason for me to avoid using the religious ones. I tend not to shout things like "Gosh darn you to friggin heck!" tooo often because I actually believe in a Gosh, and if He really did darn you to friggin heck, well that would really be pretty mean of me to wish. But for, say, a Buddhist or an atheist to say it, it’s not really all that meaningful. They are just blowing off steam. They are not literally expressing a desire that I be subjected to an eternity of suffering. On the other hand if a Buddhist were to shout at me: "I hope you get reincarnated as a dung beetle 3 million times in a row!" that means something. Or if an atheist were to yell: "I hope you die and cease to exist, and that your life was a complete waste of time!" Or if a Viking were to shout at me, like that one in Walmart did the other day: "May the Hammer of Thor pulverize your family!" ...

On the other hand, wishing some one a nightmarish afterlife is really pretty funny if you don't take it too seriously. And I never do.

Not that nothing ever offends me. The other day two kids, about 13, of an ethnic minority which shall remain nameless, but they did seem to think that the waist of thier pants was suppossed to go beneath their butt (morons), walked into a fast food place that I happened to be in. They were obviously pretending that they were gunfighters who had just walked into a saloon in the middle of the Mojave to order rattlesnake head whiskey instead of two prepubescent dweebes in Mcdonalds ordering ice cream. They were working hard to get the f word into every sentence they said. I found that to be rather silly, pathetic, and idiotic. The really sad thing is that I've seen fairly oldish people act the same way.

There was a radio station like that back in Peoria- 105.7 FM. They played metal/alternative rock and they seemed to feel that their listener base wouldn't respect them if they didn't work in a cuss of some kind or other during each station break. It often sounded very lame and contrived, like they didn't exactly know how to cuss properly: "We just heard Chewing up Garbage by the Gothwieniees. Next up is My Pain is Broken by Rathead. Its 3:46 and 76degrees at the airport. You're listening to 1057 the X rocks! Uhhh- Arse." I seem to remember alot of stations in Utah suffering from the same sort of inferiority complex.

Speaking of Utah and cussing, that reminds me of the time when I was at BYU and... ah I don't feel like telling that story just now maybe later. time to get off the computer and get a life.

Moral of the post? I have NO IDEA!


Brad Carter said...

I curse the most in prank calls, I guess because I think of them as an act and they work well in the character I'm portraying. (How's that for trying to rationalize that prank calling at my age is somehow normal!) I also curse in my blog more that I would anywhere else. In real life, around other people, I rarely curse at all. Even with the friends who curse a lot. And like you, I curse more when I'm alone than any other time.

I used to say dammit a lot (*looks at John to see if he's offended* "John, I'm sorry!") but quit when my daughter started hilariously repeating it around the age of 1.

I tell my kids it's fine to curse, as long as they know when it's not appropriate. (School, church, grandparents, etc.) I just want them to be able to express themselves without having to worry about language. But for some reason they still won't do it around me.

Brad Carter said...

Hey John, did your parents let you cuss at all as a kid? As a teenager? Today? Have you/do you ever in front of them?

I can only recall one instance where I said a curse word in front of my parents, and I was quoting someone to them.

Eyepoke said...

Mom and Dad didn't put up with any cussing at all. It wasn't until I was about 14 that I even started saying "crap" around them. I only remember cursing once around them and that was a time when everybody was sky high mad anyway and I wanted to make them even madder. It worked.

Quoting other people often doesn't count though...

I'm alot more sensative around Mom and Dad about everything like that for some reason.

Renae said...

"For some reason?" Could it be that Dad can't even hear the word "fart" without acting like you've just thrown water in his face?

It's good to know that other people say potty words when they are alone too. Not that it's a GOOD thing, but it's nice to know that I'm not the only one with this evil weekness. I have to watch myself. Luckily Justice seems to have forgotten the darnit word that I accidentally taught him.

I remember the first time I introduced Mom and Dad to Les Mis, I was really sweating it when the Thenedar (however you spell it/say it) the innkeeper's song came on. The woman is being rather vulgar, especially by Dad's standards. I was thinking to myself "I need to get up and FF through this, or he'll hate the whole production based on this one song." However, I just sat there feeling really uncomfortable. To my utter astonishment (I nearly fell through the floor) Dad actually laughed and said "She said 'raise it up the master's ars!'"

There have been a few times when I think it would have been really funny to use swear words, but I have refrained myself. Like the other day a guy from Desseret Books called up to try to get me to join some movie club thing. His line was that we need to support these makers of wholesome movies, so that we can send a message to Hollywood in general that we Want more of wholesomeness, and less of their smut. And while I agreed with his sentiment, I did not want to join some dumb movie club. I gave him a few minutes to get to the point. Very generous of me, I usually hang right up on telemarketers. But I did think it would have been funny to run of a string of obscenities at him. I didn't though.

There is a very prominent sign at our local water office. (I usually go in and pay in person because it's right down the road from the kids school, so I just drop it in, while I'm out, rather than waste a stamp.) Anyway, the sign says something like "No profanity please." I've often felt compelled (though I've never done it) to say loudly "Well s**t, I'd better watch my mouth in here!" Or something. I'm going straight to the bad place.

Brad Carter said...

John - there sure was a lot of cussing in the HHGTTG radio series. They didn't mind that? Or was it toned down on the station you listened to it on?

I remember in grade school feeling uneasy when the books I read had swears in them. I almost thought I would get in trouble for reading the books.

Renae - wow, a no profanity sign. I've never seen that. But it seems like the type of people who use excessive profanity are the same types of people who wouldn't bother to read a sign like that.

Dana Cheryl said...

What is it the native Utahns say 'round these parts? "Oh my heck" That's it.

I hear it several times a day. Even the less active members or non members will occasionally say "oh my hell" but only very rarely I hear "oh my god".

It wasn't until I moved here that I even paid attention to profanity unless it was extreme like those kids at the fastfood restaurant.

In my mind it's the motive behind the words that make them curses not the actual words.

What I really despise is when I'm the object of someone's vulgarity. Ya'll know what I mean. I decked a guy at work once because of intentions. Luck was with me because he'd just gotten his wisdom cut out and he went down like a ton of bricks. It was beautiful!

And like the rest of the world I tend to be less careful of my words when I'm alone... You know when you wake up and stub your toe first thing in the morning?! I also have a habit of cracking my head something fierce when looking in cabinets. Thankfully my dog can repeat what I say. :)

Dana Cheryl said...

I meant my dog can't repeat what I say... but maybe it would be better if she could. That would be one heck of a dog trick!

I can hear it now...

"Just who are you calling bitch, bitch?"

Sorry for the profanity... ;)

Bruce said...

i just don't know what to say. i would never curse. my respect for you people has just been seriosly deminished. espesally you.....bitch! i too try to only say the REAL swear woord when alone. my favorites are "SOAB" and "you mother Fer". but at least we all know john has a testemony of gosh and his son golly g. i don't know that i ever appologise when i let one go in public, because if i do its usually at an appopriate time. of corse the best use(in my opinion)of a swear word in a movie was indiana jones. the seen in temple of doom when he gets traped on the rope bridge.

timpani76 said...

Fake swearing is so much funnier, yet the "f" word always comes out when I am doing something home improvementy and hurt myself.

I hate swearing in front of Erik worse than swearing in front of the kids. Erik always seems so shocked. The kids have yet to notice....

Anonymous said...

Fake swearing is definately funnier. I love the TV edit of the Matrix when Neo is going to give Agent Smith the finger and he describes thus: "How about I give you... A Flipper?! and you give me my phone call!"


Bruce said...

how bout "ah FU ckring out loud!" i say "mother of pearl" and "sheite muslims" as replacement curses.

timpani76 said...

I love the TV version of Lethal Weapon since they use a curse word like every other word so the fake curse word people had to work overtime to come up with new and different fake curses for the "f" word. Hilarious! Plus, Mel Gibson is just funny anyway.