Profanity and profundity

At the age of ten I possessed a diary; red, covered in naugahyde, and secured by a lock and key. Its primary function was as a repository for each notable expansion of my vocabulary. Wonderful words like twat, that curled my tongue and piqued my imagination.

My classmates were one reliable resource, but I also scoured books that I pulled from my parent’s shelves. A quick study, I became incredibly adept at skimming until I got to the juicy parts.

Although I understood the need to be discreet per my prurient interest, it never occurred to me to be ashamed. I was curious, and frankly fascinated by not only what was being described, but the words themselves. There are so very many forms of human expression.

I also grew up in a strict and fairly repressive household, those books on the shelves notwithstanding. It would take a good long time before I became comfortable enough to simply be myself. Rather a bit of a randy (turning an adjective into a noun for my own purposes).

Or, as I was described (to my delight) by some young women: ‘dirty but elegant.’ A sentiment recently echoed by my friend Kate B: ‘so regal but can still tell a person to fuck off.’

My self description would be dignified but profane.

Megan Rapinoe just publicly apologized for using the word fucking. ‘“I stand by the comments that I made about not wanting to go to the White House, with exception of the expletive,” she said. “My mom would be very upset about that.’

Now I hear her. My mother would be upset if she heard me speak. However (and I am not representing a franchise like Megan is and my mother is deceased), I do not feel the apology was warranted.

I just made a presentation to GE where I used the word fucked three times. It is possible that some in the audience felt offended, but fucked belongs in my narrative. It describes actual words I used (communicating to my oncologist) and at the time seemed like the most expedient, honest and (yes) elegant way to describe how I was feeling.

What we refer to as ‘swear’ words are valid and time proven forms of verbal expression. And, to be honest, I don’t really understand how people can find them offensive.

Cancer offends me. And if a dirty word helps me get that point across, well then I will damn well utilize it.


7 responses to “Profanity and profundity

  1. To swear is to say something like “by God.” To curse, you say “damn you. But when you say fuck, it’s just vulgarity, and it’s not even that vulgar anymore.

  2. I have had this conversation with my daughters, in several iterations and on multiple occasions.

    Me: I don’t like it when you use that word.
    Grace or Leda: Is it worse than the “s” word?
    Me: Yes.
    Grace or Leda: Is it worse than the “f” word?
    Me: Yes. It’s worse than just about any word I can think of.
    Grace or Leda: But everyone uses it.
    Me: But you’re not everyone, and maybe, between the three of us, we can make a difference.

    The word? “hate”

    They’re too young to be using the s or f word, but they hear it, and they’ll use them. And I hope they’ll use them appropriately and with the intended effect they can sometimes elicit. I have no use for the “h” word, but everything else is in play!

    Love you dear – a whole fucking lot!

  3. Agree without reservation. I’m not yet, quite, at the point of saying “fuck” in a presentation. But, I hope I get there. It’s a great word. So expressive, in part, I think because of the explosive sound it makes when one says it.

    I learned an incredible amount reading my mom’s nursing textbooks, usually on the sly, but sometimes because no one bothered to explain my mom’s health circumstance to me. She had uterine cancer and I heard every word of what they said (it was a small house and I was determined) and I NEEDED to understand. She survived because in 1967 our small town was blessed with a wonderful female gynecologist who was at least as profane as I am now and smoked cigars and played poker with the other (male) docs in town and was not going to lose a 45 year old woman to fucking utering cancer.

    I also learned quite a lot alternatively skimming and devouring my mom’s copies of “The Godfather” and “Everything you always wanted to know about sex*” that she hid in her nightstand. Aaaah memories!

  4. Right the fuck on!!

  5. Well, fuck yeah!!! Randy on, Linnea 🙂

  6. Was at a Buddhist study group meeting this evening and the ‘fuck’ word was used several times (including by me) – And was used very appropriately – Sometimes it is the right world – It has been used in psycho therapy sessions – Not as brave as you though Linnea as I don’t think I have dared use it with my oncologist but I’m sure she would understand if I did. If the cap fits use it – If the word fits use it xxx

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