I have mixed feelings about cussin’. Some of you might know it better as cursing, swearing or using foul language, but down South we refer to it as cussin’ — if you do it right, anyway.
There are 26 letters in the alphabet, every one of them perfectly acceptable letters. Yet, you can use five of them to refer to a male body part and have it found perfectly acceptable, but use four of them to describe the same body part and you’re an uncouth slimeball. Who decided that that those five letters are fine but the other four letters are evil? How can one set of letters be wrong if you’re talking about the exact same thing?
I have no idea who got to decide what is cussin’ and what is acceptable language, but there are times when cussin’ is appropriate. For instance, when you stub your toe on the chest of drawers at 4 a.m. on your way to the bathroom, “gosh that smarts” just doesn’t cut it.
I’ve worked with goody-two-shoes folks who think “dang” is a vulgar word, and I’ve worked with people who could use the F-word as all nine parts of speech. And, yes, I know there are supposedly only eight parts of speech, but that’s how good my old boss was at cussin’. RIP, Larry.
I’ve heard it all. Anybody who has ever been a seventh-grade boy knows that a middle school boys bathroom is the most vulgar place on the planet. Those boys may not know what all the words mean, but they’ve heard them and, by golly, they’re gonna use them.
I also spent many years as a sports writer. Not only are most locker rooms filled with vulgarity, but I’ve learned many new cuss words from angry coaches over the years — some directed at players, some at referees and a significant amount at myself. Then there are comedians who can use vulgarity in clever ways or to make a point, although far too many comedians today use it as a crutch in place of actual humor. Most Americans are too easily entertained to be able to tell the difference.
But I have found a place where I don’t want to hear cussin’, and that’s on a plane. On Friday, I had a relatively short flight but was one of the last to board because I changed flights at the last minute. Not only did I have to fight for overhead bin space, but I had to take the last available seat — and I was surrounded by members of a soccer team.
Soccer is a fine sport, though not one I’m in which I’m interested. Any game that can regularly end in a 0-0 tie is not for me. But I’ve never had anything against soccer players. I even had my son try it when he was just 4 years old, but he wasn’t real sure why everyone was running around while he was talking to his imaginary friend.
“Who’s he talking to?” a parent would ask.
“Cassie from ‘Dragon Tales,’” I’d explain nonchalantly. “Duh.”
The problem was that the soccer players on the plane were all boys of about 15 years of age, and far more immature than any other 15-year-olds I’ve been around. They were more immature than kids who watched “Dragon Tales” cartoons. Everything was F-this and F-that as if they had just discovered the word. That same word could be found throughout the book I was reading, but it’s far more palatable in silent reading than from loudmouthed kids in close quarters.
Fortunately, the flight was just over an hour, so I managed to survive. Thank goodness I was able to get to my truck and play a little soft jazz on the way home. It was so peaceful. Well, at least until I hit a traffic jam cause by road construction.
“#%&!” I yelled after it took me 45 minutes to go about 2 miles.
That, by the way, is perfectly acceptable cussin’. As for the boys on that soccer team, I hope that the next time they take the field that they #%&ing lose!