My mom used to say of my dad, "Your father wouldn't say 'shit' if he had a mouth full of it."
Once, when I was maybe in seventh grade, Dad told me very specifically that I faced a choice in life: To be the sort of person who swears, or the sort of person who doesn't swear. He recommended that I not swear. He didn't appeal to morality, and certainly not to the bogus notion that swearing shows a lack of imagination. (Mom put the lie to that one.)
A communicator first, Dad said simply that swearing turns some people off, makes them think ill of you. Not swearing turns no one off. Why turn anyone off when you don't have to?
I appreciated his point of view. (His lecture might have been too late; in the fourth grade my best friend had threatened to drop me because I swore too much.) Nevertheless, I chose to swear.
When I was younger, I swore to seem older.
These days, I swear because it still feels fun and naughty to me, and it doesn't give me lung cancer. It's my last juvenile habit.
But every once in awhile it's more than that. Occasionally I swear to tell people, in my mother's favorite phrase, "Fuck you if you can't take a joke." That is, swearing is a shorthand way of telling someone (or reminding them): I'm not here to please you. You'll deal with me despite my warts, or you won't deal with me at all.
All that to explain a few of these entries to my dad, who has asked for my blog address again, and who I believe intends to start reading regularly.
Dad, don't be embarrassed by the swearing: It's not your fault. And please don't be turned off.
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