Today is April 18. On this date in 1775, Paul Revere made his famous ride warning the colonists that the British were coming. A rather large earthquake shook San Francisco, California, on April 18, 1906. 40 years later, my mother married my father for which I am very grateful.
Today, April 18, 2009, I declare a moratorium on the F-word. I don't want to hear it any more. It's used as a noun, a pronoun, a verb, an adverb, an adjective, a preposition, an interjection and a conjunction. It's an interrogative and an expletive. Can you tell I was an English professor in a former life?
Today, I heard it in many forms from adults as well as teenagers of both sexes in several sites in the campground. There were small children riding bicycles and playing in the immediate vicinity, and they heard the word used too. Children should not be subjected to a word with such a vile connotation. I don't think anyone should.
The English language is rich with words to cover any utterance. Why aren't we using them? My friends and I used to play a game where we would make up a curse without using curse words. It was fun and we thought we were pretty clever. What happened to the clever phrase? The bon mot? The witty retort?
The first time I heard the F-word was in college (no really--child of the 60s and all that, we never used that word at home) and I was a bit surprised. I understood its context and it seemed appropriate under the circumstances: the photographer had just accidentally exposed an entire roll of film. But the word itself has been watered down to cover everything. I wonder: what does a person say when they're really hurt, angry and frustrated? Does the person say the word twice as loud? Twice as much?
When we were kids, we dared you, double-dog dared you, and then the ultimate: triple-dog dared, from which you did not retreat unless you looked forward to the remainder of your childhood living as a chicken. Anyone who has ever seen "The Christmas Story" knows about the triple-dog dare and about what happened to our hero when he uttered the F-word. By the way, Lifebuoy tastes awful (that was my triple-dog dare).
Why is the constant use of the F-word acceptable? And if it's not acceptable, why are we creating a generation who would rather ignore our extensive vocabulary and replace it with one ugly word? To me, that's a sign of stupidity and low class.
I'm not perfect by any means and yes, I have used the word before as an expletive. I was alone and I said it under my breath. I would never say it around children and try to restrict its usage to situations of extreme stress. I have substituted "Aarrgh!" and "Gah!" and "Duh!" and "Grrr!" with good results.
Maybe I'm old but hearing a 14 year-old woman using the F-word repeatedly makes me angry and a little sad. She may be the finest young woman I could ever meet; however, the perception of her character changes with the words she says and I want nothing to do with her. She is selling herself short to fit in and that's wrong. We're smarter than that. Aren't we?