I have what used to be called the “mouth of a trucker,” with a particular affinity for the F-word. It probably started in my rebellious teenage years, but my foul mouth really found it’s footing when I started working at the newspaper when I was in my late late 20s.
My defense, even today, is that when you are a young, small woman working with hardened journalists and newspapermen, a well-placed F word earns you respect and a tiny bit of admiration.
One of my first jobs at the paper was to drive advertising proofs around to advertisers to get their approval (this was before e-mail and PDFs, obviously). We had a particularly difficult client who owned a shoe store and was a total dick about his ads, especially about the angle of the photo of the shoe in his ad (*rolls eyes*). I hated this guy. And, I hated him about ten times over when he would make me wait for 20 minutes and then lose his mind when the photo was not in the precise angle that he wanted. (*rolls eyes again*) I still hate this guy.
Anyway…..I brought his ad proof back and had to show it to the photo supervisor, Rich, who was on duty that Saturday. I went off about what a F-ing A-hole the guy was. I was new at the paper and, suddenly, Rich gets this grin on his face.
“I like you,” he said. “You’re throwing around the F-word in a Winnie-the-Pooh sweatshirt. ”
I looked down. I was wearing a Winnie-the-Pooh sweatshirt because it was Saturday and on the weekends we could wear jeans and sweatshirts and, at the time, I was into the chubby, yellow bear (It was the freaking ’90s, ok?)
ETN Ad Services Dept. circa 1996, maybe?
That interaction kinda set the tone for the rest of my years at the paper. It served me well. Oh, you think I’m a fragile, sweet girl in cute clothes that you can push around? Try me, man. I had three brothers. I will push back harder.
Authenticity and a foul mouth. I’m going to keep it real. I’m going to tell it like it is and I’m probably going to use colorful language to do it. I got away with more than a few swear words in my columns. (I know, right?) But, usually, I tried to soften them to avoid offending.
I never understood the offense to swear words. I still don’t. Words are words. What makes “ass” a bad word when “butt” is not? What makes “poop” more acceptable than “shit”? Why is “damn” unacceptable, but “darn” just fine? It’s some societal agreement we all have (not me) on what is good and what is bad. It’s a game for rule-followers. People who know the rules and play by them and expect you to, too, without question.
Well, that’s not me. I question. I think. I am offended by hypocrisy. Your logic makes no sense. I’ll tell you so, likely with a few F-bombs throw in for effect.
About Just Write: Just Write is my adaptation of free writing, a technique in which a person writes continuously and quickly without little regard for spelling, grammar, or topic. It helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and explore everything from meaningful topics to mundane observations with the same effort and without the pressure of crafting perfect prose. I just start writing.