Tuesday, December 9, 2014

You Need To Grow Up And Be Okay With Fucking Casual Swearing

Let's talk for a few moments about sounds that bother some folks.

I had an incident a few months ago at work that still kind of annoys me.  I was helping someone connect their iPad to the company's guest wireless network, then configure their email client to collect email from her company account.  Because I've never really spent any time on an iPad, I was having troubles navigating to the settings. Once there, I was having problems inputting data.  It was mildly annoying, but we (the owner of the iPad and I) got a bit of a chuckle out of my ineptness at using a device that is designed to be intuitively easy to use.  The owner asked me a minor question - I don't remember what it was - and I responded with:  "I don't know.  I don't use these fucking things."  Her mouth came open a bit and she took a step back.  I'm sure she didn't actually do this, but in my memory of this incident, she covered her open mouth with her hand.

I later confirmed with her husband (who also works here) that she is "sensitive" to swearing.  And, though I didn't want to be, I found myself annoyed that she was shocked by my swearing.  Look, this is not the sort of thing that I need to draw a line in the sand over because let's face it: it's unprofessional to cuss at work.  In some cases, it's rude as well.  Had she demanded an apology (her husband swears it's not a big deal) on the spot, I would've done so "hat in hand" as the old timers say.  But we're all grown ass adults here.  Aren't we too old to be shocked by casual swearing?  Haven't most of us incorporated it into our speech to give it color, urgency, and/or elation?  And those of us who haven't - does it really offend us anymore?  I thought not. I guess I'm wrong.

My sixth grade English teacher Mr. Strophus taught us that cussing was for people who are inarticulate, and that cussing reflected a lack of education more than anything.  Here's the thing:  I agree with him.  We've all met people who cuss every other word, thereby rendering the power of cuss words useless.  You know, people who say things like "look at that fucking fuck who's fucking, I don't know, just fucking up shit, you know?  Shit.  Goddamn pisses my fucking ass off."  Sentences like that tell me nothing except that the person hasn't yet mastered English or cussing.  Using a cuss word every fifth word is presumptuous and disrespectful.  It just makes you sound like one of those folks with a legitimate mental issue, roaming the streets cussing their ass off.

But used correctly - sparingly, and in conjunction with vivid word choice - cuss words give your speech the rabbit punch, the humor, the accuracy that it needs to communicate effectively.  It's honest, and shows trust.  It strips away a veneer of formality and loosens things up.  In fact, there are plenty of people out there who DON'T TRUST those who don't (or won't) swear. I even think cussing can be beautiful, no lie.  I played bluegrass years ago with this guy Ric Hedrick.  I loved how he talked.  He KNEW how to cuss.  He selected the right word at the right time.  He was a damn artist.  Until I can get over to his house to record a conversation with him, you'll just have to take my word for it.

I'm not advocating for rudeness here. Don't cuss in front of your parents (they raised you better than that), your boss (he can fire you) or your pastor (unless of course they cuss more than you do)etc etc etc.  It's just not cool.  What I'm saying is if you're shocked by the occasional cuss word in informal conversation, you might need to grow the fuck up.


  1. I was going to write something biting, but fuck it.

  2. Damn good stuff. Cussing can be therapeutic.