Sunday, April 14, 2013

If Life Was an Expletive

I grew up in a very conservative home in the South. My parents didn't drink, party or cheat on their taxes and didn't knowingly hang out with people who did. My dad quit smoking when I was a tween and I remember how proud I was of him. He had been smoking since he was a young boy. He told me he used to sneak off and smoke his daddy's cigarettes when he was about nine, so to quit some 50 years later was a big deal.

My mom was a Sunday School teacher, teaching ladies classes for more than 25 years. She was a teatotler, thinking anyone who drank was surely going to have quite a time convincing St. Peter to let them past the Pearly Gates. She didn't cuss (unless she dropped a casserole on the floor and then she'd say "just hear it kids! don't say it!) Then her choice of words, by today's definition, might be considered just a temper flare and not ugly at all.

Daddy, on the other hand, knew every inappropriate stereotypical name for every ethnic group on the planet...and used them! He also had a colorful word to describe incessant complaining....come on, now. You know what it is. It's an adjective that freely flows in today's society used to describe a woman or girl who even looks at someone cross-eyed. Rhymes with witch, stitch, rich....there you got it.

Tonight I was flipping channels and stopped at a reality show to see what was what. One of the men on the show was having a meltdown and  it went something like this: "If you can, bleep bleep bleep with a clear conscience then you can bleep bleep bleep then bleep bleep and I quit!"  Seriously?

Sometimes I wonder how our society has come to the place where expletives are so widely accepted. I was watching an episode of 20/20 several years ago and the reporter was interviewing students in a high school in a large metropolitan area. The story was about inappropriate language, swearing, etc. He asked one student if he swore and the teen said yes, he did. Then the reporter asked why. The kid said, "Are you kidding? Everybody talks like that!"  My jaw dropped.

First of all, not everybody swears. It just seems justifiable, if a person can convince themselves that everyone does. Why, I can remember when I was growing up that it was a REALLY bad thing to say "That sucks!' Now it seems just a regular way to describe raw, hurtful or ill feelings. Does it make it right? No, I don't think so. Recently someone said to me in reference to his job that "it sucks to be me". I sincerely felt badly for this person. However, was it really about his job...or was there something else going on deep inside himself? I'm not a therapist, but I am old...have been around the block a couple of times..and I recognize when someone is struggling. And if he's reading this, I hope he knows it really doesn't suck to be him. Yep, I used his word...even though I don't like that word used in that way.

I guess I've noticed ugly talk more lately because as much as gets bleeped on TV there seems to be just as much that doesn't. And what's more amazing is that to mention Jesus is what the networks consider to be the bad word (unless it's been used to take the Lord's name in vain and that appears to be perfectly acceptable). Odd how that works, isn't it?

Please tell me I'm not the only one who's had enough. Please tell me there are lots of you out there who aren't totally desensitized.


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