Encountering That Bad Word Way Too Much

Published 9:46 am Thursday, February 22, 2018

Admittedly, I am not hip, not cool, and certainly not with it.

I have old fashioned tastes and old fashioned ways. My mind is shackled by old fashioned morality and propriety. I hold doors for ladies. I don’t operate power equipment on Sunday for fear God will strike me dead. Certain behaviors are still categorized — in my mind — under the “sin” label that psychologists these days frown upon as judgmental. Being judgmental these days is even worse than driving drunk or wife beating.

Help me here: Is cussing still a sin? Is it even considered in bad taste these days among polite society?

A 16-year-old gold medal Olympics champion yelled the granddaddy of all cuss words on TV last week after he won the snowboarding competition. The NBC announcer quickly apologized. There are still guidelines for what words can be used on TV.

Lately, however, my ears have been inundated with f-bombs. When Carolina beat Duke in basketball a couple weeks back, UNC students swarmed Franklin Street in Chapel Hill to celebrate. A YouTube video of the event — yes, recorded by my youngest son — featured scores of beautiful coeds screaming that very, very bad word about Duke.

It’s no longer enough to “beat” Duke. At Carolina, you have to do something much more severe to the Durham school.

Kids these days have never tasted soap applied directly to their tongues when they uttered a bad word. Like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story,” I was taught there are certain words that should not be said.

Bad words. Vile words. Disgusting words.

Those pretty Carolina coeds made me blush at their crude language. Yes, that makes me guilty of sexism too for applying a different standard to girls and boys, but I don’t like to hear it from either side. And certainly not in the middle of the street.

My lawyer son has counseled me that for his generation, bad words — especially that really, really bad one — are just figures of speech thrown about so casually during routine conversation that they have no meaning. For the Millennial Generation, that bad, bad word isn’t shocking. They utter it as routinely as my generation says “uh.”

For me, it’s still shocking.

Elizabeth and I went to see “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” recently. We loved the movie, most of it filmed in Sylva and Asheville. The language, however, hurt my ears. The f-bomb was sprinkled liberally throughout the movie, uttered by everyone, including women.

I am a cultural prude.

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Long-time subscriber Leslie Madigan of Charlottesville, Va., writes a weekly blog, “Solo at Sixty.” Last week she offered some suggestions for the season of Lent when Christians traditionally give up something.

“What if we choose the following as our “sacrifice” for Lent,” she wrote. Here’s her list:

Give up complaining… focus on gratitude.

Give up pessimism… become an optimist.

Give up harsh judgment… think kindly thoughts.

Give up discouragement… be full of hope.

Give up bitterness… turn to forgiveness.

Give up hatred… return good for evil.

Give up negativism… be positive.

Give up anger… be more patient.

Give up pettiness… become mature.

Give up gloom… enjoy the beauty that is around you.

Give up jealousy… pray for trust.

Give up gossiping… control your tongue.

Give up giving up… hang in there!

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Skunks must be either very plentiful, very dumb or both. I’m seeing and smelling dead skunks hit by cars along the sides of the road almost every mile these days.

— Dwight Sparks