I don’t remember why I thought it needed to go down like this, but I’d figured out a certifiably kickass hiding place for my mother’s running shoes and no way was I going to help her find them now. She was going to have to do it on her own. I feigned inattention as she bumbled from room to room, puzzled and crooning her neck to inspect dark corners, behind couches, under chairs and beds, and beneath piles of laundry. Like the dog, I thought, thorough in her way but not clever enough to solve the puzzle. After a while, my fake disinterest gave way to the real, and I drifted on to other things.
Hours floated by. I was almost to the end of “Pitfall” on my Atari when my success and Mom’s failure finally traded places.
“Geoffrey! Michael! Barnes!” she yelled all staccato and out of time with her clompy footfall racing toward my room. She appeared in the doorway, New Balances held up, Exhibit A in the trial now getting started.
I’m really, like really, enjoying writing on Medium lately. The reasons are a mix of vanity, hatred for Tumblr’s modal compose screen, and the newness of the site. And as much as I’m enjoying writing there, I’m also enjoying discovering and reading there. Check it out, if you haven’t already. It’s maturing in mostly wonderful ways.
If I were a creature from another planet, and I wanted to learn about human men, I wouldn’t read our literature or study our television programs. I would hang out in public restrooms, because that’s where shit is the most real.
Little League baseball can eat my asshole.
“…profanity and obscenity entitle people who don’t want unpleasant information to close their ears and eyes to you,” said Kurt Vonnegut.
She timed them perfectly. As it happens, recent research shows that in certain cases, cursing like a sailor is what the BBC calls “a sensible policy:” it helps deal with physical pain. While the mechanism of this isn’t yet clear, participants proved to be more resistant when muttering or shouting their favorite swear words while being subjected to it. Ladies, this means that giving birth naturally becomes more bearable if you have a foul mouth. That’s right. Let it all out. Normal people everywhere: 1, imbecilic scientologists: 0.
But no one ever needed medical justification to know that swearing feels good. And everyone understands that it’s a sure way of getting a quick reaction when you really need one. Granted, in some instances, it will make you lose all credibility. Plus there is no point in pushing it: the more you swear, the less effect it’s going to have.
What I mean to say is that most of us, sooner or later, will end up in situations where we won’t be able to shut the fuck up. So let’s be practical for a second: if you’re going to do it, do it well. Like Amy Spurway writes in this essay:
“A well-placed piece of profanity can be an empowering expression of creativity, and we all know that nothing says catharsis like a good expletive-laced rant. So why do we teach our kids that curse words are so wrong? (…) I plan to make sure my kids know the forms and appropriate usage of each “bad” word. Turning swearing in to an English lesson will strip away the allure of the forbidden. With luck, my children will develop an ear and an appreciation for swearing.”
“My mother curses to celebrate the joy of language, or occasionally to make a point. Most importantly, she sees swear words for what they really are: just words, marvellously effective and versatile when used properly.”
To this, I say: language is a joy and it is YOURS to love and delight in. Expletives are toys and they are tools. They’re there for a reason. Don’t apologize for their existence. Learn them, use them wisely and just have fun.
Your reference book: English as a Second Fucking Language.
— From London, amused.
You’ll always remember the first time you hear your kid say the f-word. Like the Space Shuttle Challenger exploding or the falling of the Berlin Wall or the morning of 9/11, it leaves something permanent pressed into the soft tissue between the two ears that apprehend it.
The first of my offspring to dip his toe into the profane end of the language pool was the middle child. (It’s always the middle child.) We were watching a football game and, after a dazzling and suspenseful pass reception, I jumped up and cheered. “Yes! That was amazing!” Jack jumped up too, like father like son, and added, “That was fucking amazing!” I must have turned my head toward him kind of slowly, because by the time my gaze found his, he had his eyebrows up and jaw dropped too, in astonishment, it seemed, equal to mine. The apology was instantaneous. He had just turned three.
From my first post on Medium. Enjoy.