Just like I used to do on this blog, for Mondays’ posts I am going to sit down and start free-writing whatever comes to mind.I can’t promise you quality. I can’t promise you the feels.
I can’t promise you anything, really, except that it will always be raw, it will always be unedited, it will always be all over the place, and it will always be me. Oh, and it will always be written while sitting in my sweat pants and only in my sweatpants. Always. Because that’s how I roll.
Hmmm. What to talk about today… How… About… I don’t know… bad words.
From holy hell to holy shit. Damn it all to fuck it all. Asses to bastards and the asses of bastards. Oh, and all the bad, bad, BAD words you can think of in between.
I grew up in an overly Mormon family where cursing was just about one of the worst thing you could do. It wasn’t that far behind touching the no-nos of another person outside of marriage, feeling that rainbow pride inside, or drinking <gulp> coffee.
I’ve got ten siblings, and only a couple of them still consider themselves members of the church. The rest of us curse when we’re together, and it’s definitely not limited to the mild ones. When we go home though, all of us still zip our cursing mouths shut and respect the rated G atmosphere we have been invited into.
I was swearing in secret when I was twelve or thirteen, and I never stopped until I turned 30, left the church, and decided to swear quite openly.
Of course, my kid is growing up now. As he so aptly reminded me this morning, he’s going to be a teenager on his next birthday. That means he’s getting to the age where I can’t protect him from all that much of anything, and especially from those bad, bad, BAD words.
Which is why, ever since he’s been a pretty little guy, I have never actually called curse words “bad words” to him. Why? Because… I don’t personally think they’re “bad.”
To put the term “bad” on a word means that to use it is a reflection on one’s moral fortitude. And, to be quite frank, my kid is going to hear me say “fuck” from time to time. He’s going to hear me say, “shit,” and “damnit,” and “sonofabitch.” I’m going to say those words sometimes, and I’m going to say them like I mean them when I do. So, why confuse his subconscious by telling him that they’re bad?
To call them bad words is to tell him that I am “bad” whenever I use them, and that he is “bad” when he decides one day to use them.
And isn’t life full of enough high ground moral superiority nonsense to let ourselves believe that there is something wrong with us if we simply say a word that someone else, somewhere, at some point in time once declared was “bad?”
What’s in a swear word, anyway? Where do they come from? Who decides that the word “fuck” is absolutely terrible while the word “boorba” means nothing at all?
There are no “bad” words.
There are just grown-up words. There are words you can use when you get older (if you like), and which you should hold off from using when you’re younger. That’s it.
I thought of this today because yesterday I was driving with my kid and dropped an f-bomb.
I didn’t do it by accident. It was a very purposeful f-bomb, followed by more purposeful f-bombs, which is how I (personally) like to use them. I want them to mean something. I want my son to remember when I use them.
“Life is way too fucking short to ever care what anyone else thinks about the way you live yours,” I told him with a smile. “It’s your fucking life, Noah, and only your life. And, dude… You better live it in the way you always think is fucking right for you.”
Was that too many f-bombs for a twelve year old? Nah. Not yesterday.
It was just the right quantity of them that he was shocked by them and then giggled for five straight minutes at a time when I wanted to say something to him that he would actually remember throughout his life and at some of the most important times he needs to remember them.
“Yeah, it is my life, Dad,” he replied.
“Damn straight, dude. And how are you going to always live it?”
He laughed anew as he thought about what I had just told him. “I can’t say that,” he said through the giggles.
I sterned up. “This is a grown-up lesson,” I told him. “And so today, while we talk about this, you’re a grown-up. You can say that grown-up word if you want to say it. If you don’t want to say it, well… It’s your fucking life.”
More laughs, of course.
I can’t control much in my son’s life, especially now that he is getting older. All I can do is hope that I get to the end of raising him and I’ve done alright and haven’t messed him up too much.
Yesterday, as we laughed together and finished that drive, I knew my son was just a little bit more than one step closer to being a grown-up, and I was more than okay with it.
Dan Pearce | The Single Dad Laughing Blog