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Don't Say It
Who can imagine such foul language coming from such a cute Kid?
Jason was cute once too.

Terry’s niece liked potato chips when she was very young. When she wanted another one, she would yell “Bitch!” which kind of sounds like chips, if you think about it.

Regular readers of the blog may notice that I am free with the Celtic oaths. Some might say that I am as free with the swearing as my father. On the occasion of my eighth grade graduation, we drove my then best friend (whom I’ve not spoken to since 1987) and his brother and mother to the school for the ceremony. Afterwards I went with my friend to his house, where I had this conversation:

My friend’s Mom: Your father is such a religious man.

Me: (incredulous) Ah, what? Religious? My Dad?

My friend’s Mom: He was praying so much today.

Me: During the ceremony?

My friend’s Mom: When he was driving.

Me: Ah, he prays? When he drives?

My friend’s Mom: He kept repeating, “Jesus, Mary and Joseph!” over and over again.

I can assure you that he was not praying. For my Dad, that was pretty tame. Especially when he was driving. I’ve heard a lot worse screamed out at bad drivers who happened to get in his way.

Ronan, my son, has started repeating sounds. This is good.

I swear. A lot. This is bad. This is bad because Ronan is learning to speak, and he gets excited about excitement. In other words, emotions make him happy. (Go figure.) Since I utter “Fuck!” with a great deal of emotion, this could mean that he will gravitate towards my profanity.

Not that I have a problem with the word “Fuck.” Compared to, say, the firebombing of Tokyo, I don’t think words are such a big deal. For just a few missed chances, a tone change here or there, some other word could have been offensive. I’m mildly offended when people make a big deal out of the word “Fuck.” George Carlin has a great routine about “Fuck” that sums up why the FCC has its head up its ass.

Yet it’s not the first (or second or third) word I’d like Ronan to use. Why? Because my wife, who excels at all things, taught me that “Fuck” is much more powerful if you use it sparingly. As in, when I say “Fuck!” nobody much cares, because I say “Fuck!” when I drop something, when my computer doesn’t boot up, when I’m late, and whenever I’m pissed off, which, apparently, is a lot.

Terry, on the other hand, hardly ever uses the word “Fuck!” When we were getting our wedding invitations together, and many friends came over (Thanks again!) to help stuff envelopes, Terry said, “Fuck!” and the whole assembly line stopped. Dead. Not because Terry said “Stop!” or “Halt!” or “There’s a mistake!” but because she said “Fuck!” and she never says “Fuck!” So when Terry says “Fuck!” something is really fucking wrong. Several people, including me, looked terrified. It all turned out okay, something was missing from the finished envelopes but we could stuff it in, blah blah blah. The point is that if I had said “Fuck!” that the whole assembly line would have kept moving without a care in the world, because I said “Fuck!” fourteen times just opening the first box of envelopes.

So teaching Ronan the proper use of expletives is important. Plus, we don’t want him saying “Fuck!” all the time.[i] Right now he’s just mimicking sounds, but soon it will be words. And it will be easier to not teach him to say “Fuck!” than for Ronan to unlearn saying the word.

Which puts me at a disadvantage. One, I have to think about what I’m going to say. Two, I have to stop myself from saying it. Did you ever want to stop a behavior, but the more you thought about it, the more you did it? That’s where I am now. I’m trying not to say “Fuck!” but the more I think about it, the more I find myself saying it. Am I just coming to terms with how much I swear? Am I swearing more now that I’m trying to stop?

I think I have to substitute another word for “Fuck!” Something that is kinda cool, but not too retro. Any ideas? Either post a comment or email me.

After all, it’s just a word. Penis.

[i] As a baby, I couldn’t say “Fork!” instead I said “Fuck!” and would shout “FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!” in restaurants when I wanted my own fork.


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