I’m sorry I’ve been too busy to write on this blog lately, but between maintaining all the other sites and trying to find time to live life and get work done, I rarely have time to simply sit down and blog. In fact, I intended this as a Facebook post, but I’ve posted similar content over the years on social media and this medium allows me the best opportunity to simply refer back to the article at a future date. So, let’s dive in, shall we?
Watching my Language
Apparently I can run a moderately-successful business, work all over the world, educate people on a variety of subjects, and yet people still think I resort to words like “Fuck” because I lack the intelligence to simply insert another piece of vernacular with which they themselves would be more comfortable, as if I am being both ignorant and rude simultaneously.
Let’s begin by factoring in my upbringing. Yes, I was raised not to use swear words. I still vividly remember the very first time I cursed in front of my very Christian mother. I was sitting in the back seat of her car, in the middle. Yes, this is obviously before we were required to wear seat belts in the back seat and were at the mercy of our parents as to whether they wanted to throw us willy-nilly around the vehicle by stomping the brakes purely for their amusement. You see this was ALSO before anti-lock-brakes, so when Mom hit the brakes, I know damned well she quite enjoyed the satisfying “thwunking” sound we made as we bounced off the back of the front seat mixed with the “awwgghhuuaaaah” sound our faces made sliding down the vinyl into the floorboard where we lie there, drenched in our strawberry milkshake with french fries fallen around us like fallen compatriots in a battle we never even saw coming. I digress.
My friend, Corey McGuinness was riding shotgun, mainly because the filthy creatin beat me to yelling “shotgun” because after all.. it’s my mom’s car. I thought shotgun was a given in your own parent’s car. Foolish boy. I learned much that day. Anyway, Corey and I were incessantly prattling on about one topic or another when he asked some question that required me to respond with an energetic negative response. I don’t remember the comment he made, possibly because of the maternal concussion that followed, but I do remember my own response. I bounced forward and said “Oh, HELL NO.”
My mother didn’t even blink. She was driving with her left hand with her right arm across the seat. Somehow in the blink of an eye, no… because I didn’t have time to blink… in whatever fraction of time is much much smaller than a fraction of a second, my mother’s hand whipped back into the rear of the car, open-handed slapped me across the face with a back hand, and never took her eyes off the road.
And that was only for saying “hell.”
So yes, I remember quite clearly being raised not to curse.
I was also raised not to drink caffeine after dinner, yet here I sit, typing to you sods whilst sucking down yet one more cuppa Joe at 10 PM on a week night. I’m such a rebel! Breakin’ all da rules baby!
My mother has always been fond of a phrase that I hear repeated often, usually by people two generations or more senior to my own. The phrase is something along the lines of a claim that people that curse aren’t capable of higher means of illustration. Put in simpler terms, only dummies curse because a smart person has better words to use to describe a particular situation.
My mother and I often disagree I’m sure. It happens, but we both respect each other’s educated opinions so this is one I just choose not to disrespect her on and argue about. She’s from a generation that thinks differently than my own and while I admit to being formed and molded by her teachings and inpirations throughout life, I too am responsible for the experiences and events that have crafted me into who I am today, so if there are parts of me she sometimes wants to disavow, she would be perfectly within her right to do so… because these aren’t things I received from her. They’re thinks that I adopted to make me into who I am. And sometimes my somewhat colorful use of the common speech is one of those things.
I do try to restrain myself in her presence for the most part, but the older I get the more it slips out.
However, that’s not the point of this part of my history. I shared all this only to clearly state for her sake that yes – she taught me not to curse, so any perceived failing any of you may have with my language is solely my own and not the fault of parental upbringing.
Science is on my side:
To get back to the point about the relationship between strong language and my intellectual capacity for communication, there have been far more scientific papers written in the last decade that debunk the theory that “only stupid people curse.” In fact, most research tends to show the opposite. Let me dumb that down Barney-Style for some of you. The research shows, and it’s been repeated time and again in various tests, that those that tend to swear are usually more creative, more open about their feelings, and often more neurotic. They also tend to have a higher vocabulary that those that refrain. I freely admit that all of those apply to me. I’m always open about my feelings on most any subject you ask me. I’m definitely creative. ( I work wood, can paint, garden, play three musical instruments, speaks parts of 3 languages, have read thousands of books, and have written in published form enough material to fill the King James bible five times over.) And yes, I’m aware of my own little neurotic tendencies as well. I’m also fairly self aware of most of my shortcomings, including my ego. And yes, this is me keeping my ego in check. I’m aware that I’ve got so much ego that simply coming off as normal is a huge accomplishment for me. However, I make no apologies for it. No successful business person ever built anything that didn’t start with extreme self confidence because that is one building block that separates leaders from followers. So, we’re clear that I’m egotistical, right? We’re all in agreement then? Ok, moving on…
Let me leave you with a few resources on the topic of slurs, pejoratives, and intelligence:
I’m an elected official and therefore supposed to change to make you happy.
This is one that galls me to no end. As of the time of this writing, I am a county commissioner in a little rural county in North Carolina. I remember when I was first running for office – subtle comments those who thought they were doing me a favor would leave in my ear, as if I was immune to the effects of language on those around me. “You’re not going to be able to make those Facebook posts anymore.” “You’re going to have to tone down your rhetoric a little.”
I’m sorry… WHAT THE ABSOLUTE FUCK ARE YOU PEOPLE THINKING?
Somewhere out there is someone that thinks that I took time out of my working life to run for office, then agreed to take 20-30 hours a week additional time to research matters and work on their behalf, basically for free, talk to the public, talk to my fellow commissioners, talk to county officials, travel to continuing education, deal with the back-biting pretentious bullshit that is politics, try to make things better, and then that somehow I was going to be LESS CREATIVE with my use of language? F.U.C.K. N.O.
I ran for office to make change, to fight for what I think is right, and to remove whatever corruption I can from my tiny little corner of my tiny little area of impact within the state, national, global realm of politics. Maybe you missed the word, fight. On top of that, I took on membership in two other boards, and an active role within my political party because I firmly believe that if you see something that’s not going the way it should, and you know how it should be, and you have the ability to try to make it happen, then if you fail to act – you’re a cowardly piece of shit and you need to sit down and shut up. Either get in the game, or shut up and let the adults work it out while you watch and complain from the comfort of your keyboard at home.
And you think that would make me want to curse LESS? I’ve got more gray hair and fucking ulcers in three months of this job watching people sit back and do nothing, all the while feeling like they’re accomplishing something by simply sitting their ass in a chair…. I want to fucking scream most of the time.
So, no… running for, and winning, a political office is doing nothing for me in terms of lessening the stressors in my life.
However, I’ve never bothered to mention that before now because… well, two reasons:
- I signed up for it, so I’ll deal with it.
- You don’t care. Why would you?
I actually had a lady tell me the other week at a board meeting on one of my boards that “We’re not used to people being so active and working at things on this board.”
I’m sorry? What the fuck is wrong with people? You think that coming to a meeting and sitting on your ass for one hour per month and never voicing an opinion, never trying to solve the problems before you, never giving two shits what happens to the county you’ve been appointed to serve, means you’re actually doing something? That’s what’s wrong with this country, county, state, world now…. very polite people are content to sit there and babble incessantly while really saying nothing, but I drop the word “Damn” and some little bitty’s teeth pop out of her head because I’m the heathen one in the room…
Let me get to the point of the political part of this….
I didn’t run for office to change myself. I have no intention of changing ONE single thing about who I am to suit the office. I ran for office because I think the office needed to change to suit people like me. And that’s what I’m doing. And if, for some miraculous reason, I’m able to effect positive change in my county sometime in these next three and a half years, and the people see fit to ask me to run for my office again, I will do so. But it sure as hell won’t be because someone ever thought to themselves “I’m going to vote for that Tommy fella. His Facebook posts are so sensitive to my feelings and he’s so polite.” If I were to try to do my job by simply being polite – you should have my ass kicked out right now because I’d be a useless SOB. If I do my job and I do it well, vote for me again. If I suck at it and fail you, vote me out. Meanwhile, don’t sweat yourself over my choice of language on social media.
Let me be really clear here. I don’t like politicans. I don’t like BEING a politican. I do this particular job for the same reason I cut my own grass. I wanted to see it done right, and I’ve got the physical ability so I decided to give it my best effort to do it the way I think it should be done. For the record, I’d rather be:
- Playing with my fucking dog!
- Riding my horse.
- Riding my motorcycle
- Washing my truck.
- Spending an afternoon on the porch with my beautiful wife.
- At home eating dinner with my wife instead of sitting through another fucking board meeting!
- Watching TV instead of researching the material I’ve got to vote on at that fucking board meeting!
- Hanging out with my friends.
- Mowing my grass.
- Getting kicked in the balls by an angry goat repeatedly any day of the week then dealing with some of the stupid shit that comes up every day.
- Spending MY tax money rather than trying to figure out how to spend yours!
I did not run for this office to impress anyone with my grasp of the English language or to show my restraint at using it to the fullest effect possible when warranted.
The “cute” swear words are OK, right? (Idiots)
Now this… this right here.. this shit is fucking hilarious!
I remember the cartoons growing up, and I remember growing up as a child in the south and learning what words were OK to express your displeasure and what ones weren’t. You probably all remember them, right?
Let me see if I can nail some of the most common ones:
- Damn/Damned: Definitely NOT OK.
- Dang: Not as bad, but your mom is still going to call you down for it.
- Darn: Much better!
- Hell: Not in my house!
- Heck: Ok.. fine.
- Fucking: Dear Lord, please prepare this chile’ o’ mine fo’ the ass-whopping he ’bout to receive!
- Freakin’: Totally fine.
- Jesus Christ: No way dude!
- Jiminy Cricket: Absolutely acceptable.
- God D….: I don’t even use that one in print, and rarely in spoken form unless I’m in physical pain from something stupid I just did to myself and it slips out.
- Dagnamit: Fine
- For Pete’s Sake: (Most of you don’t even know that’s the same thing as saying “Jesus Christ” as an expletive.
- Golly: (means God)
- Gosh: (means God)
- Gum: (means God)
Ok, so now.. let me drop some education on you asshats. THEY ALL MEAN THE SAME FUCKING THING!
The original reason the English language was so bastardized into the euphemisms you know and love today was from a misbegotten notion that “improper” language was actually psychologically detrimental to children. The more austere restrictions around religious phrases stems from the ten commandments about not taking the Lord’s name in vain. Yet I find it funny in my adult life that somehow the world is OK with Gosh Darn it, but flips their shit with the phrase G– Damn–.
First, it’s called a “minced oath”. It stems from a desire to be explicit, without being… you guessed it… explicit. You really mean G’D it, but that’s not acceptable, so you say Gosh Darn it. Ever notice how most minced oaths start with the same letters as the words they replace? That wasn’t by accident. It came about because people were at some point in time so incredibly stupid as to believe that Gosh Darn or “Jiminy Cricket” would just slip right past the almighty and he’d actually think you were cursing about a fictional grasshopper from a children’s story. It’s been going on pretty solidly in the English language since about the 15th century.
I can write “freakin exhausted” on Facebook and your eyes roll right on past it. I say “fucking worn out” and I’m all of the sudden an evil bastard?
No. I’m just cognizant enough of the meaning to know it’s the same damned thing.
Let me be crystal clear…. if you say “freakin”… you’re saying Fucking without feeling bad about it.
If you say “dagnamit” you’re saying God Da—– as plain as day.
If you somehow manage to make it through your entire adult life without somehow sampling from ANY of the pejoratives you heard growing up, well Golly Gee Willikers… I’m freakin; proud of you!
It’s MY damned social media account, not yours.
Lastly (and I’m not mad here… I’m just being more of what you all seem to like so much about me… blatantly fucking up front with you)… if you’re reading this on my social media account, or my blog… take a minute and drop yourself into reality here. Chances are, I didn’t send you a friend request. You sent me one. I don’t go looking for new random people I don’t know on social media for the most part. It’s very rare that I randomly seek someone out unless there’s a reason to talk or stay in touch with them. I have over FORTY THOUSAND followers on Facebook alone… I might know one percent of them. Hell I met a lady the other night that knew me by name and was surprised I didn’t know hers. I don’t follow everyone that follows me on Facebook! I get on Facebook to look at stupid videos, share stupid memes with friends, and occasionally drop a bomb of wisdom on the general masses of people when I see stupid fuckery occurring that needs to be quashed.
I didn’t invite myself into YOUR personal conversations with the world. You’re here reading MINE, and you’re here doing it BY CHOICE.
You have the choice to simply unfollow me, close this blog article, unfriend me, or whatever combination of actions makes you feel better about yourself. You abso-fucking-lutely do NOT have the right to lecture me on my language. There literally isn’t a single logical argument to be won from almost any viewpoint you might choose to argue from. I don’t take the Lord’s name in vain on social media, ever! Whatever sins I have to atone for are between myself and God, no one else. The need for a mediator ended when Jesus died on the cross, and God isn’t taking applications for that position. Got it?
If I come onto YOUR wall and comment in a fashion you consider rude, then you are well within your rights to scold me for doing so, but I try pretty hard to refrain from that unless I’m intentionally trying to piss you off because you’re a shit-bucket and I think you deserve it. But if I’m posting on MY personal account (not my political account, not my business owner account, not any other representative of anything), and you have a problem with it – take that problem with you out the door.
If I’d wanted to post this as a business owner, I’d have posted it on my work Facebook, or my work Twitter, or my work blog.
If i wanted to post this as a commissioner, I’d post it on my commissioner’s Facebook page, or my political blog. When Tommy (the commissioner) speaks, that’s where he does it.
Occasionally, I… no, fuck that… EVERYONE deserves the right to simply be themselves, to blow off steam, to decompress in whatever fashion they choose to do so within the confines of their own social media or blog, or whatever other media they choose as long as they’re not dumping it in your lap against your will.
Now… I hope you all have a merry fucking day tomorrow. I just spend eight hours crawling around the attic space of a nursing home in 120 degree heat sweating my balls off.. and came home to a lecture on Facebook etiquette.
Sometimes nothing else works!
Creative language, for the most part, isn’t for the benefit of the listener or the reader. Its cathartic (relaxing and eases stress) from the person that’s saying/posting it. When I smash my hand with a hammer or drop a 75 pound piece of wood on my foot, I’m very very sorry, but “ouchie, darn it” doesn’t cut it. You know how some times in life you just come home wiped out and you think “Man, I need a glass of wine” or “Damn, I need a cold beer.” Next time, try reaching for a soothing glass of green tea instead! How about that? FUCK NO!
If I said “fuck” or “fucking” or any derivation thereof – it’s because that’s how I actually FEEL. It’s not because I’m unintelligent or ignorant. Far from it. It’s because the ONLY thing that’s going to get it off my mind is the appropriate descriptive vernacular – after which I will calmly move on with all my tensions eased.
I challenge you… step in front of a slow moving tractor.. maybe let a pit bull bit you in the nuts… or drink some crushed glass for the experience of it… or maybe simply pick up the phone and try to get through to Dell tech support, or get a question answered by the IRS, or book an appointment at the Albemarle DMV…. and then see if something like “Oh my, cherry pie” has the same warm fuzzy feeling as “FUCKING FUCKITY FUCKSHITS” does when you slam the phone down on the desk. Kind of like how I feel now… after spending TWO FUCKING HOURS of my night writing this post and justifying my use of the English language to random people on Facebook. Congratualtions. I could have spent that time poring over one of the dozen new budgets I need to review, but nope.. I have to come explain the lack of difference between Jiminy Cricket and Jesus Christ to the blogosphere.
And now, I’ll end this with the meme I’ve been looking at for almost a year, but never found the right place to post. Today… I have the perfect place for it.
In my mental man-cave, I’m clearing out old beer cans and hanging this picture above a busted old rusty-assed refrigerator, you know, the one your grandparents had with the oxidized chrome handle that always felt like it was going to break off in your hand – right beside the John Deer pin-up calendar from 1971. Because in my mind -this is funny as hell!