Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Childhood Memory Attack #3

It seems particularly fitting that today's TMI and my Attack #3 are related. It has to do with words. Growing up, I heard only two real "swear words" around the house. "Shit" and "goddamn" were about it. Nothing sexual, and certainly nothing anatomical. And the "f" word? Dad and I went to see "Deliverance" at the theater when I was maybe 16, and the first ten minutes had no less than 100 "fucks" in it (I might be exaggerating), but all I could do was think about how I was going to tell him what that word meant. Seriously--it was NEVER uttered in the house.

I vividly remember the first and only time I've ever sworn in front of a parent. I was a freshman in high school, and I must have had a bad day or something. I was in the front seat, and my sisters were in the back. But they'd left a bunch of shoes on the passenger side floor. I don't recall if we were arguing or what, but in the heat of whatever, I just blurted out "get these goddamned shoes out of here". My mother stops the car in the middle of the street. Granted, it wasn't a busy street, but still... She rips me a new one right then and there. It must've stuck. I can't ever remember swearing in front of my parents since. And really, even today, I find it difficult to use any of the "seven words" in front of them. I blush and get embarrassed if I stop by my parent's and they happen to be watching a movie. Even worse if it goes to a sex scene. I don't want to see that with my parents. (I have on good authority that my parents have had sex precisely 4 times in their lives, coincidentally all just 9 months before the births of me and my sisters). My sisters, on the other hand, have potty mouths to more than make up for me!

What really brought this to mind today wasn't so much the TMI, but a window sticker I'd seen coming to work this morning. It was crude and tacky, having something to do with cumming. I'm all for free speech, and lord knows I do my share of using all the vulgarities and slang here, but there needs to be a limit, in my mind. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. All I could think of was how I would answer to my kid (if I had one) sitting in the front seat and wanting to know what the sticker meant. I don't think I should be forced to deal with that because some immature hack in front of me thinks it's cool to put on his window. And then that got me to thinking of the whole vocabulary thing.

I have often ranted here about many of the comments I see "out there" being crude, immature and inappropriate. That, and the overtly egotistical manner that many of them come off as. But I find that I'm in the minority. Most apparently aren't bothered by it. I guess I always will be. I can blame it all on my mom, and that stopped car in the middle of the street all those years ago!

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