So, i’m lazy. This is an older blog post that seemed appropos this week because i was a) taken to task for my language in a post earlier and b) my son’s cursing vocabulary has now expanded from “dammit!” to “what the hell?”. So, here’s an oldie but goodie…
“Life is a Four Letter Word” –Lenny Bruce
[april 7, 2011]
“When a man uses profanity to support an argument, it indicates that either the man or the argument is weak – probably both.”
“Profanity is the attempt of a lazy and feeble mind to express itself forcefully.”
In response, allow me to say…
(I love old-man cussing. I find it carries the most weight, and/or comedic “Get off my damn lawn!” effect.)
Let me instead turn to American author and expert in the art of cussing…Mark Twain.
“When it comes down to pure ornamental cursing, the native American is gifted above the sons of men.”
- Roughing It
“Under certain circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.”
- Mark Twain, a Biography
“If I cannot swear in heaven I shall not stay there.”
- Notebook, 1898
Yes, i get it. Swearing is not very creative. Sure, it can be a crutch–and it can be clumsily used in the poorest of circumstances by dullards who wrap their ignorant nuggets of shared wisdom in ignorance and hate.
But, as Twain so eloquently put it, some circumstances demand it. It’s just that I find my circumstances tend to be…frequent.
Do I lack the vocabulary? Hardly. Do I lack the creativity? Please. Do I lack respect for other folks’ aural conservatism? Well….
Look, like any person with good home training, I know when it is appropriate and when it isn’t. I don’t cuss in front of my Rabbi nor my kid’s teacher. I wish I could say the same about my kid…
My husband takes me to task on this–although truth be told, he’s got a potty mouth as well. And I suppose, in one aspect, Autism has helped us in this regard. Ben’s speech continues to develop slowly. I mean, he does jabber away endlessly at times, with scripting and echolalia, but he doesn’t always retain what is said unless it is repeated. And in this instance, that’s a damn good thing.
Although yesterday I had a scary moment. I had a mini-tantrum of my own because I kept repeatedly dropping a toy I was trying to awkwardly pick up off the floor, and I burst out with a resounding “dammit!” (mild on my scale of cursing power) For a good ten minutes, Ben went around the house saying “dammit!” over and over. And i thought, “Oh, imma catch hell when daddy gets home,” even though it was kinda cute. Luckily though, that mantra he soon replaced with a script from Bee Movie. Damn, that was close!
I’ve known people on one end of the parental philosophy wagon train who wouldn’t dream of cursing themselves, let alone cuss in front of a kid. And I’ve known the opposite end–parents who are just themselves, and who have the most foul-mouthed little kids (hilarious, but foul-mouthed). We’ve actually taken to apologizing to Ben when we curse in front of him, as it’s not fair to teach him words he cannot use without rebuke.
So, like many things in life, I strive to find the middle ground. I won’t curse in front of my probation officer (teehee, j/k), but i might colorfully question another driver’s ancestry if they cut me off in traffic. And my car window may or may not be down at the time.
[aside-->colorful--if it is so wrong to cuss, why such a loverly word to describe it? I like colorful language. It's like rainbows just pour off my tongue.]
So…no, mom. I’m not gonna stop cussing. And no, honey, I won’t always be successful in keeping my language clean in front of Ben.
But I do promise to try to keep a sense of humor in this sometimes overwhelming world, and to teach Ben the lesson that language, like everything else in life, is a fluid and often hilarious thing.
And that sometimes, cussing is the most appropriate way to phrase something. Like how I love to fucking cuss, dammit!