Okay, holy roller friends and new acquaintances, hold on to your Sunday hats. I admit it. Although I’ve cleaned up my act quite a bit, I used to cuss like a sailor. And sometimes, I still do. I can lapse into Andrew Dice Cindy if I don’t watch myself. I could make a great Mafia wife or construction worker if I were so inclined. This can be a problem.
I have to determine (sometimes in a fraction of a second) when, where, and/or whether or not profanity is appropriate. Appropriate? Is it ever appropriate? It probably isn’t necessary, but alas, there are those times when I am overtaken by a particularly strong urge to let loose with an “appropriated” string of dirty words that would make my grandmas blush. Thank goodness they’re both dead. I don’t mean that I’m glad they’re dead, I mean I’m glad they’ll never hear it. You know what I mean!
It’s funny how I’ve changed through the years. I wasn’t a big curser when I was little. It isn’t like my parents walked around the house dropping the F-bomb. I rarely heard cussing at home. I think the shift came in high school when, for a short time, I hung out with some tough girls who used profanity like running water. My profane reign lasted a good 20 years and then, like so many other things in my life, I lost the urge to remain, well… profane.
I did not, however, become a goody-goody and I highly suspect that I never will. God knows this about me and he deals with it. I don’t try to fake it with him either. It’s no use with a deity. They’re smarter than that. They know your deepest, darkest secrets, even if you try to hide them. I know that “God is always with me,” so I try to keep my mouth from going afoul, but old habits die hard sometimes. Addictions are, meh, pretty easy. Control of my mouth, not so much. Good thing I’m held accountable by an even higher power… my children. How is it that they can make me feel like they’re the parent and I’m the child when I slip? It’s just not fair when your children parent you better than you parent them.
When a fellow respected writer, Rachel, asked me when I was going to guest on her blog, I asked her to tell me more because I had never guest posted before. She replied, “You have NEVER guest posted? Holy crap. You're so f***ing talented.” I giggled like a school girl at her comment, not because she used a curse word, but because she used the F-word as an adjective to describe how talented I was. I took it as the high compliment intended. I’m not just talented. I’m talented with effing emphasis.
She didn’t use asterisks in her word either. I wouldn’t expect her to! That wouldn’t be Rachel. Rachel cusses when she feels like cussing and that’s fine. I love Rachel just the way she is. I’m real. She’s real. I like her a lot. I told her she is my Princess Charming, asking me to the ball (to guest post) for the first time. She got a kick out of being deemed “PC.”
I appreciate Rachel’s profanity frequency as well. She doesn’t detonate F-bombs multiple times in every sentence for no good reason like my car mechanic. Honestly, I don’t think he knows how to formulate a sentence without a curse word in it. It’s as though he must insert them or he feels like he isn't using proper English. It’s effortless; a craft he’s mastered after years of practice and fine-tuning.
He’s cheap and good and honest with me, so I deal with it. Sometimes he doesn’t even charge me if it’s a really small repair or he doesn't find a problem I’m having him check out. Maybe that’s because of the boobs and all, I’m not sure. Here’s an example of a typical conversation with said mechanic:
Me: “Looks like it might rain today.”
Mechanic: “Yeah, I’ve gotta get the f’n lawn mower out before the f’n rain comes. I’ve got too much sh** to do around this G**damn f’n place to put it off.”
Me, giggling at the mastery of his curse placement: “Well, you’d better get it done then. Call me when you know something about the car.”
In my own writing, I’ve decided not to use curse words. I could. I want to sometimes, but it’s quite rare. Eliminating it from my writing is just a personal decision I’ve made for me and me alone. There are plenty of other authors, bloggers, and writers out there who pepper each piece freely with their own personal spice. I can hear it, I can read it, and I sometimes say it, but I don’t ever really feel the need to use it in my writing, so I just don’t, and that is all.
I tend to curse the most during times of panic, like these times:
- The toilet’s water supply line decided to burst in my bathroom at 3 a.m. I was home alone with no idea what to do and couldn't even tell where the water was originating. It was spraying wildly everywhere and seemed to be coming out of the floor somehow… yeah, I let ‘er rip. I must have looked like a raving lunatic in my pajamas in the middle of the night in the back yard trying to turn off the main water supply valve at the well, frantically screaming obscenities at the water Gods while my bathroom filled with water. Who knew you could just turn it off behind the toilet? Certainly not me. I know now, though! I sure know now...
- The time I was on my way to Christmas dinner and a pickup truck slid on ice, played tag with a semi, then came at me in “You’re it!” fashion and bounced off of me on his way to the ditch, I let loose with a scream of clear obcenity with the kids right there and closed my eyes for whatever happened next. It was all fine in the end, nobody hurt, and Santa still brought me gifts, but it might have been a Billy Bob Thornton Bad Santa, I’m not for sure.
- And just the other day, when I decorated my own finger with dripping molten lava (okay, I’m exaggerating, but it felt like molten lava) from a glue gun while doing a craft project, yup, I did it again. The glue melted to my finger! I mean, come on! Yeeeow.
I’m not perfect and I hope nobody expects me to be perfect. If nothing else, I’m a true work in progress. Pretty appropriate description for a writer, isn’t it? What’s my WIP? Me.
Keep it clean, but tell me… what’s the habit you love to hate about yourself? I love it when you tell me I’m not alone or a freak, so come on, humor me. I’ve humored you. It’s only fair.