Chuck you, Farley

July 28, 2006 at 1:09 am (Uncategorized)

finger.jpgMark Twain once said: “There ought to be a room in every house to swear in. It’s dangerous to have to repress an emotion like that.”

The issue has come up a lot lately in the newsroom. But there is no moral debate on the streets about the proper use of profanity. You are either in favor of cussing or you are not.

Witness a confrontation between an older woman and a teen outside a downtown store. A string of profanity crackles through the calm summer air like the tip of a whip. This nasty oration was uttered by one who clearly has been trained in the mystical art of Obscenity Fu.

“Do you have to talk that way?” said the other, more puritan party. “It’s not appropriate.”

Now, if you’re assuming that it was the older woman who chastised the teen about his potty mouth, guess again. It was the gray-haired lady who sung a song of swearwords and the wholesome lad who asked her to stop.

You just never know. Gutter talk is learned behavior and it stretches back to the time of cavemen, when a primitive man whacked his thumb with a club and shouted a nasty oath. Primitive birds took wing. Primitive women blushed and pressed hairy hands to their lips. Nasty Neanderthal knew that he was onto something.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There’s a right way and a wrong way to swear. At a poker game, working on the car, in a street fight, watching the Kansas City Royals beat up on the Red Sox … all perfectly acceptable conditions for letting loose. At your daughter’s wedding, a funeral or a job interview, not so acceptable. And you learn that the hard way.

Me, I’m a profanity moderate. I have argued in the past that mild swearing is an integral part of communication. In the proper context, a lukewarm turn of phrase can add emphasis to a point, illustrate your state of mind or add texture to an otherwise bland sentiment.

Swearing can make you feel better. Twain wisely observed that the use of profanity can provide a level of relief not attained even through prayer.

Unfortunately, I cannot provide examples of good swearing and bad swearing in this forum. The Sun Journal takes a fairly rigid approach to keeping possibly potential could-be-taken-wrong words and phrases out of their pages. Just try infusing a “darn” or a “friggin'” into your copy and you could be banished to the weather beat, which will make you swear more than ever.

Recently, I was castigated for using the word “poop” in a piece of writing that required a description of the foul stuff that comes out of dogs. Call me crazy, but poop is a mild, almost playful word. More scientific terms, like defecation or excrement, look and sound much more descriptive when discussing that kind of substance.

More recently, a brood of Sun Journal editors hung upside down in their cave to discuss a quote I had included in a piece about my recent travels with goofy shoes. In that piece, a woman commented that I was apparently gifted with a great deal of courage to have embarked while shod in such embarrassing fashion.

Only, the woman expressed herself far more colorfully. And while discussing the matter, one of the editors began chirping and batting his wings to alert the others that he was not pleased with that quote. Oh, no. Not pleased at all. And so, I had to paraphrase that quote in a manner that would imply exactly what the woman on the street said without actually using her words.

Would it surprise you to learn that I don’t always agree with editors?

I also was taken to task for attempting to use a two-part word that implies a person is of limited intelligence and also resembling somebody’s backside. It’s a word you hear all the time on “That 70’s Show” and various other places. And I think the word was eventually allowed. So, why am I being a dumbass and skirting it now?

I never had my mouth washed out with soap when I was a kid. I hung out in pool halls where masters of cussing demonstrated the most mouth-dropping feats of profanity gymnastics I’ve seen, before or since. I learned the value of vulgarity from the best.
Even so, I don’t descend into gutter talk all that often. Driving through Auburn will tease obscenities from me because driving through Auburn is inch-by-inch locomotion from H-E-double-pogo-sticks. Insomnia will cause me to unleash, because I believe swearing coaxes sleep-inducing melatonin from the pineal glands. It’s all very scientific.

I’m not foul-mouthed by nature. And I know that someone needs to man the gate and make sure true filth does not find its way to the eyes of those who would be offended.
But I also bristle at the suggestion that all forms of off-color speech are bad and the people who speak it are derelicts.

As the brilliant Mark Twain once said: “When angry, count to four. When very angry, swear.”

That Twain was one smart son-of-a-bitch.

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70 Comments

  1. Gil said,

    What the fuck are you rambling about now?

  2. Gil said,

    I spent my formative early adult years in the Military and learned the true meaning of “cuss like a sailor”. The best were the unending string of obscenities usually detailing your shortcomings and how badly they were going to cause your ass to be kicked.
    My favorite though, was an old salty Boatswain’s Mate explaining how to assemble a certain piece of equipment,
    “Put the motherfucker in the motherfucker, motherfucker!”

  3. Bulldog said,

    you both are crucking fazy!

  4. LaFlamme said,

    Shuck that fit!
    I got nuthin.

  5. Bulldog said,

    gee, that’s a real turn on Flamer. shuck that fit?

    why didn’t you just say something like: let’s make like a bird and get the flock out of here.

  6. Bulldog said,

    oK, so that’s not REALLY swearing. maybe something like…hmmm, I got nothin’ right now. brain must have been cooked in this 102 degree weather here in the Lone Star state or maybe it was the alcohol I’ve had or lack of sleep or lackanookie.

  7. LaFlamme said,

    What the hell ARE you doing in Texas? Picking up a shipment of Mexican? Get me some Tequila. And a hooker. And some nachos. Woman, just get me stuff.

  8. jarheaddoc said,

    MT, I really did go to bed last night when I signed off, because I am working today. Otherwise, why would I be up at this ungodly hour trying to provoke a respone from you?

    Now see how civil that was?

  9. jarheaddoc said,

    But just in the spirit of this post, Fuck you. You may all take that as personal as you choose.

  10. Dave said,

    Ah… memories of a deceased Uncle come to mind. He was legendary in swearing circles. He could formulate cuss in complete sentences, with nouns, verbs, adjectives all swear words. For example, “…, that fucking fucker fucked me over. ”

    I miss him.

  11. Linda said,

    Nah, I’m shrugging it off, jd. I know what it’s like to be up at 5:30 for work — like 5 days a week — and it certainly makes me feel like saying the same thing to the world. I’m much less prickly at 9 pm

  12. LaFlamme said,

    You people got up at 5:30? I was just going to bed. One of us is a freak. No, a FUCKING freak.

  13. LaFlamme said,

    What I find hilarious are those new parents who invent new ways to express their frustrations around the children. Got a guy at work like that. He works so hard at using made up words in place of real profanity, it sounds like he’s having a stroke.

  14. Linda said,

    I’m a much happier person when I can STAY up until 5:30 instead of GETTING up then. But I had poor career advice and now I can’t get a job with hours like yours, Mark. My bad luck.

  15. LaFlamme said,

    Hey, come work with me!

  16. AO said,

    I didn’t get to bed till almost 4:00 this morning. Then, I was up at 7:00. Talk about ‘fucked up’! Eeesh.

  17. Bobbie said,

    I used to get up at 4 AM, four days a week when I was working, even earlier if it had snowed (or was currently snowing). If it had snowed, I then had a 2-2 1/2 hour drive to work instead of the usual 45 minutes to an hour. The kicker is that I was only going 30 miles to work (one way).

  18. jarheaddoc said,

    Darryl Martini, The Cosmic Muffin, has passed into the great astrological beyond. I would say that today is definitely a zero for him, whether he’s in or out.

  19. AO said,

    I LOVED The Cosmic Muffin. My son and I would sing the theme song on our way to school every morning. “Girl you thought he was a man, but he was a muffin”…RIP, Muffin Man!

  20. Bobbie said,

    AO,
    Check out http://www.muffinmanthemovie.com

    I know that it’s not the same song, but it’s interesting to see what you get when you just put in “muffin man song”.

  21. jarheaddoc said,

    I was really pissed when that guy Frenchy had to go away because of the Frog PC crowd. I mean, if you can’t make fun of your own heritage, you should throw yourself under a bus.

  22. AO said,

    I’ll check it out, Bobbie.

    Frenchy is an old friend of my husband’s. And, I was pissed when he had to go away too.

  23. AO said,

    OMG!! Click on the trailer! The first guy they show looks very familiar! I’m not sure who he looks like but, maybe one of you can figure it out! http://www.muffinmanthemovie.com/Trailers.htm

  24. Mandy, the obit writer said,

    I have yet to see any swear words creep into any obituaries that have come across my desk, but if I ever do, it would be one worth keeping.

  25. LaFlamme said,

    John Doe shit the bed Friday, after a long illness. Specifically, alcoholism. John was a fucking lush.

  26. Linda said,

    Different subject, nobody minds right? (joke)

    I had dinner with a friend who lives in Poland (in Eastern Europe) and I learned that in Poland, people wear red underwear for good luck. At the risk of being heckled for bringing this subject up yet again — jd, and Mainetarr for that matter, is that a custom in Poland ME also?

  27. jarheaddoc said,

    AO, that guy looks like bill Dunlop, the sailor from man who disappeared quite a few years ago. Just my opinion

  28. jarheaddoc said,

    I have been racking my brain for a flip response about skiddies and can only come up…..

    Shit, I got nothin’!

  29. Linda said,

    Hey, who are you really?

  30. jarheaddoc said,

    One Clue: canoes. ’nuff said?

  31. Linda said,

    OK, that’s gotta be the confirmation code. Though I was actually expectng “harvest moon”

  32. jarheaddoc said,

    Oh, now that’s a pretty mental image, Linda: me with jaundice, mooning you. You off your pills and drinkin’, too?

  33. jarheaddoc said,

    I hope that comment made some sort of fluid come flying out of your nose when you snorted.

  34. Linda said,

    My memory is way too good. Pair it with a vivid imagination and it’s a curse.

  35. AO said,

    Mandy: Is it “raised children” or, “reared children” where you are whilst …writing the last goodbyes?

  36. LaFlamme said,

    Red undies. Is that with or without frillies? Because I find the frilly ones to be both lucky AND delightful.

  37. jarheaddoc said,

    And the fact is, I really haven’t worn either underwear or deodorant since I got out of the military

  38. Linda said,

    I think the idea is to wear them YOURSELF if you want to get lucky. Not sure what effect the frillies would have on your luck, Mark

  39. jarheaddoc said,

    This flipping back and forth between blog posts is making me feel a little like Sybil.

  40. Linda said,

    Jeez, if that’s not TMI, I don’t know what would be

  41. Linda said,

    Which character? and isn’t that the great thing about this blog anyhow? which jd is here tonight? your choice. Better practice up for next week.

  42. AO said,

    Red undies. I’ve never owned a pair. Black, yes. Red, no.

  43. Linda said,

    Well maybe the Polish people are onto something, maybe you should try it.

  44. AO said,

    Huh…maybe I will. 😉

  45. AO said,

    Hmmm….wonder how many pairs of red undies Bulldog has?

  46. LaFlamme said,

    I’m thinking Bulldog doesn’t wear undies.

  47. AO said,

    Hell, I’d be willing to bet she would if they were red. Can’t imagine not wearing panties. Especially while wearing jeans. Ouch!

  48. Linda said,

    Now can any of you explain this to me? its a quote from the article about the cover picture of a breast and a baby, you all know the story I am sure.

    What is this woman talking about? What planet does she live on?

    “I’m totally supportive of it, I just don’t like the flashing,” she says. “I don’t want my son or husband to accidentally see a breast they didn’t want to see.”

  49. AO said,

    What? Sorry, Linda, I’m so behind in my current events…IS this a current event? Where can I find this story?

  50. Linda said,

    SJ front page. Also if you google breast feeding and magazine. IT’s the current cover of Parent’s magazine, a breast feeding baby. People are griping.

  51. LaFlamme said,

    Ha! Damn, I should blog that boob story, huh?

  52. Linda said,

    Have to. That’ll be another one I have to hide when I open it at work. No way to disguise it as work-related.

  53. AO said,

    Boob stories are what you were born for, Mark. So, ‘blog a boob’. Nite, all!

  54. Linda said,

    By AO. Happy partying tomorrow.

  55. Mainetarr said,

    I am from Poland (ME) and yes, I have a pair of red undies. Red, cotton undies. Came in a package of all different colors. Blue, green, black, white. I don’t think it has to do with being from Poland, though. It has to do with shopping at Walmart. Ha!

    WTF is with you and Boobs, Mark? That’s it, I am scrapping all of my blogs for next week and we are going to talk penis all week. Penis, penis and more penis. Nothing but penis. Big, small, black, white, cut, uncut. We are talking dick all week. Ladies, what do you want to talk about? Speak up. I am listening.

  56. Linda said,

    We’ll go with the flow, but that works for me. Payback time?

  57. Bobbie said,

    Hey Mark, if you’re still out there, have you sent the book yet?

  58. Mainetarr said,

    I will need some help on that one, though. I can only say so much about peckers. Where the hell is Bulldog when I need her? She could tell us if everything in Texas is really bigger.

  59. Linda said,

    Get the pecker blog going, she’ll turn up, I bet

  60. Mainetarr said,

    I bet your right. I am hunting for a good pic as we speak.

  61. Bobbie said,

    Mainetarr,
    I have found a site for you. Within what ranges do you these photos-they have everything from erect to masturbating and ejaculating. The site says that it’s done as tastefully as possible.

  62. jarheaddoc said,

    You women are wannabe perverts. You wanna know a name for a man’s pecker, just ask him, and he can give you no less than ten euphamisms in about as many seconds.

  63. LaFlamme said,

    pecker, cock, dick, unit, rod, pole, meat, manhood, throbbing member, wang, shaft.
    Okay, that’s eleven in nine seconds.

  64. K2 said,

    touser snake, cak, heat-seeking moisture missile, johnson . . . it’s all I got right now, man.

  65. K2 said,

    trouser

  66. LaFlamme said,

    one-eyed wonder worm, muscle of love, dink, dork… And those are just some of my nicknames.

  67. LaFlamme said,

    Woody, stiffy, high hard one, bat…

  68. Linda said,

    Smells like seventh grade.

    Have your fun while you can, men.

  69. hotsauce said,

    pico de gallo =
    (rooster’s beak ) cock’s pecker

  70. stupid joke-teller said,

    One night as a couple was retiring for the evening, it was clear the honeymoon was over. The woman lay on her side reading a novel while the man watched tv, remote in hand, changing the channel every few minutes. The honeymoon was over.
    After awhile, he clicked the tv off and turned towards his wife, “mmm, honey, you wanna %&#$?”
    “%&#$?? How can you say %&#$? The kids might hear you! What if the neighbors hear the kids using that word? I’d be so embarrassed!”
    “Well, what do you want me to say when I want to do it?
    “You can say something nice, so they think you are doing something else, something good….. I know- you can ask if you can use my washing machine. Then if the kids say something like: Daddy used Mommy’s washing machine, people will think you are helping with the laundry.”
    So he rolled over and she read another chapter of her book. When she put the book on the nightstand and turned off the light, she snuggled up to her husband’s back. “Honey? Aren’t you going to ask to use my washing machine? ”
    “?Grumphf” he responded, ” I only had a small load so I did it by hand.”

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