I’ve been known to lay down a curse word or 7, usually bursting forth rapid-style, full of sound and fury, signifying my anger or frustration at one topic or another. I’m not ashamed of it; a fierce unleashing of curse words can soothe the soul. A volley of blue language also peppers a conversation, adding emphasis and engagement. For some, including me, it’s just how we’re comfortable talking.
I come from a long line of cursers. I remember my grandmother trying vainly to catch herself when annoyed saying, “Shit-ugar.” My father can blaspheme with the best. Others in my family are equally skilled. With that background, I was destined to swear. Often.
But my curse-filled lifestyle ebbed the moment my children entered the world. From then on, the “F” word in my life became “Phooey.” And “GD” became “Golly Gee!” It’s been an evolutionary expletive diet for me. And I’ve largely quit cold turkey, disavowing my penchant for the pottymouth.
However, parenthood has not had the same effect on some of my friends, including some with kids of their own.
One friend in particular — who missed his calling for the comedy circuit, by the way — free flows the “F” bombs like a 6-year-old discussing the art of Pokemon. Don’t get me wrong. It’s funny. It’s irreverent. But when my kids — or anyone else’s are around — I cringe. I rush to put earmuffs on my kids’ ears or try to talk loudly so they don’t hear the fiery, feisty, foulness spewing forth. Thus far, we’ve safely avoided any cursing catastrophes but it’s only a matter of time.
Here’s my conundrum — how I handle this dad who curses? Do I politely ask him to tone down the four-letter diatribes? If I do, I think he’ll advise me to kiss his posterior. Comically, of course. Or do I let it slide and risk my children hearing words they’ll someday read on the walls of the school bathroom? He’s a good friend and someone that we enjoy spending time with but his loose lips risk infecting our kids’ delicate sensibilities.
In another time in my life I would’e thrown up my hands and, “Screw it.” (Although replace the “screw” with the 4-letter word of your choice.) Nowadays, I’ll just continue to laugh and revel in my friend’s laid back nature and pray that my kids are too focused on Pokemon/Minecraft/Disney/Superheroes/Power Rangers to pay attention.
And when they inevitably come to me and ask, “Daddy, what does F$@! mean?” I’ll point to my buddy and say, “Whatever you do, don’t ask him!”