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August 17 • The Hell I Say...?

Day 770

A good writer does not need to use off-color words to convey a good story. Had I been a character in Star Trek IV(a): The Voyage to Sobriety, it might have been me to whom Mr. Spock made his immortal observation:

"Your use of language has altered since our arrival. It is currently laced with, shall we say, more colorful metaphors..."

Until five years ago, I could count on one hand the number of times I had used the word 'fuck' in my life. That includes the day I came home from elementary school and asked my mom what that word meant. A major measurement of my life was the words I chose not to use, including the other six words placed into infamy by George Carlin's earth-shifting comedic routine, The Seven Words You Cannot Say On TV. The complete collection: shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits. I still have no memory of ever having used at least a couple of those expletives. (Since I inserted those words into this paragraph via a copy-and-paste from Wikipedia, I'm not counting this as having used them:-)

[NOTE: As an aside on the shifting sands of culture and time, the spellcheck software I use flagged only one of those seven words, cocksucker, as 'Potentially offensive language.' And now that I've typed 'cocksucker' in this editor's note, I guess there is only one word on that list that I still have not used.]

At one time in my life, my lack of using profanity was very much part of my self-righteous quest to be righteous... or at least the effort to appear righteous. The deeper I fell into my addiction, the less I cared about all things perceptual, including language, so I started getting comfortable using whatever words came to my sick little mind. That admittedly felt like a rush of new freedom and probably helped feed the self-deceived conclusion that I had finally found myself.

So now that I'm in recovery and trying to be a better person, why do I continue to pepper these journal entries with the occasional "F" bomb and more frequently a few hells, damns, and other red, white, and blue metaphors; especially the blue ones?

Going back to the opening line of this post, it's highly possible that it is because I'm not that good of a writer, so I still need the shock effect now and then. Without regard to the truth of that evaluation, that is not the reason.

Maybe my use of profanity is an indication that I'm not doing as well in recovery as I claim, and my word choices are the canary in the coal mine, letting everyone know that I'm running out of air and about to succumb to my addiction. I certainly hope that is not the reason.

Perhaps, in the fallout of my addiction, some things just don't carry the same relative weight as they once did, such as recognizing foul language as being a far cry from the foul behaviors of the worst of me.

So why the hell am I writing words that make my mother want to take a bar of soap to my damn computer screen? I really don't know. I want to think it's because I am working hard to honestly move my thoughts from my brain down through my arms and fingers into the keyboard until the magic weaves my words throughout the Liquid Crystal Display's pixels in the form of letters and words. I hope that's all it is, and I apologize — a little bit — to anyone offended by the uncensored expressions of this addict's free flow of consciousness, conscience, and struggles.

And I apologize a little extra bit to my mother.

But in the words of a highly respected preacher friend of mine,

"Sometimes the only word that can individually capture the width and depth of a circumstance is fuck."

Sometimes preachers say the damnedest things.



They don't give a damn what we want or need

They've all caved in to corporate greed

And sold us out to the ruling class

The whole damn bunch can dot my com

This is a family show folks, FCC says watch your language

English, what's yours?

–Utah Phillips, “Talking NPR Blues”



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