Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Inappropriate Content

This morning my sister, Kathy, told me that where she works, they installed some new thingamajig whatever for checking Internet sites through their whatchamacallit network computer system doohickey whatever. Yeah, ok, that's enough technical jargon.

Anyway, she told me that finally she could read her daughter's blog at work (of course, while on her lunch break), but that when she tried to go to my blog, this very blog you're reading now, it wouldn't let her... due to inappropriate content.


Well, ok, I do occasionally use the odd cussword or such... but I don't swear. (Hi, Mom!) And maybe I am sometimes a bit irreverent about propriety, but hey, one man's propriety is another man's pain in the ass. I don't believe I've been outright profane or obscene... have I? Anyway, if you're keeping track of that stuff, then you're in the wrong place, baby. Inappropriate content indeed. Harrumph.

I do like to occasionally use a particular word that has a special brand of unpopularity among certain individuals. (Hi, Mom!) Ah, yes, that word... the frequently fashionable, frighteningly ubiquitous and fabulously familiar “F word.” That favorite expletive of inferior persons. That flawed fixation of the English language. That red-headed step-child of slang. That poor, misunderstood “F word.”

How illogical it seems to me to assign such importance to a simple acronym. Well, I suppose that’s not really true... notwithstanding the genius of album titles from the early 90’s. A simple ‘net search yielded the fact that being arrested in long-ago England “for unlawful carnal knowledge” is simply an urban legend.

To me, it’s just a word. And why that particular word has such a dreadful reaction when the other words used instead of it, but meaning the same thing, are A-OK. Like freakin’... kids everywhere use freakin’ all the time... Hey, give me back my freakin’ stuff. Hey, keep your freakin’ hands off my stuff. Most parents not only don’t correct their kids when they use that word, they use it, too. And what about frickin’ or friggin’ or flippin’? They all mean the same thing. Just like darn, dang & damn. (And now we hear damn on TV all the time... just you freakin’ wait... you’ll hear them all before too long...)

So back to me. To me, it’s just a word. When you’re really mad, like when you get not just a paper cut, but a cardboard-file-cut, the sharp bark of the “F word” has a nice, comforting effect. When you’re really frustrated, like when you’re looking for your 2005 income tax file and it’s not in any of the places you thought it would be, a variation like, say this one... Flap! Flappity, flap, flap, FLAP! has a somewhat calming effect. I like it. So arrest me. Just not for unlawful carnal knowledge.

One of my favorite discussions about this word was from a Patricia Cornwell novel, “Point of Origin.” I used to listen to recorded books a lot, and when I would hear a passage that I found particularly moving or interesting, or just plain neat, I would write it down in a book I kept in my car for that purpose. Here it is:

“Whenever Merino was tired or half drunk, he said 'f---' a lot. In truth, it was a grand word that expressed what one felt by the very act of saying it. But, I had explained to him many times before that not everyone could deal with its vulgarity, and for that matter, some perhaps took it all too literally. I personally never thought of 'f---' as s--ual intercourse, but rather of wishing to make a point.”

I think if Patricia Cornwell was my neighbor, I could be friends with her.

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