Saturday, April 18, 2009

F-word R.I.P.

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?


  1. a "14 year old woman"?? Hardly! A child, an ignorant child, or a neglected child, but not a woman. Please correct the child, or speak to the parent if possible. She isn't a woman, imho, as an elderly gentleman who has used that word more times than I could count, a retired Navy man, a world traveler, circumnavigated the globe three times and I have heard it and used it in more than one language; and I too agree it is detrimental to our vocabularies.

  2. I had to call her a woman since she's too old to be considered a child in my view. She is a young woman-to-be and a teenager, and she was with two others like herself away from parental control.

  3. May I have permission to copy this and send it to the editor of my local paper who is a personal friend of mine. You have expressed my sentiments so well! I just did not have a clue how to express them.

  4. Of course, you may have permission to copy and reprint with credit to the Women RVers blog at RV Thank you.

  5. I am a woman who grew up in the 60's.
    I understand and relate to your feelings.

    There is a 23 yr. old female, who is a mother of two, who uses the F word freely. Her husband who is no much older is equally her competition in using the F word. When their friends are around they become bolder and more vicious. They don't have any regards for anyone including their children.

    The reason for this on their part is that they are uneducated. They bi-passed high school into parent hood and does not have any knowledge of being an adult or a responsible and upright people.

    Unfortunately, they live behind me and I have been cussed out and thrented by them many times in the last 2 yrs. ever since they have moved in. I can no longer take this and is considering moving. I have gone to management, police and spoken to a lawyer. I can not get any one to help me.

    I believe uneducated young people having children continues this kind of unbecoming language and behavior Let's not forget the movie media and such.

    I am sadden and feel emotionally abused by these young ignorant adults.

  6. In my own way, I came up with the exclamation "Sugar dogs!" I liked using it because it had all the explosive sounds of cusswords, like "sh", "d", "u", and it also avoided religious profanity. Nothing contemptible about it, but it sure was a good release. :-)

  7. as a woman who enjoys using profanity I am impressed by your sentiments. I do not think its okay to abuse others with words or with any other method. However I also think that it strange that people take offense at such unimportant issues. Its all about moderation Id say. The woman who lives behind idiots is right to feel abused, but Im sure its not the word f**k thats the problem but the couple themselves and their ignorant behavior or perhaps they are so stressed out they can't think straight?
    Any way thank you for expressing your feelings on the f word and happy trails : )