29 August, 2009

More Naivete?

That must be what it is.

So, I'm following up the drivel below with more halo-crowned drivel...

I think most of this essay is rather pedestrian (I imagine the writer sitting in front of her computer thinking, "What's the most eye-catching column I could write this week? I've got absolutely nothing of substance to write about. Hmmm..." Commercialism meets the shallowest of feminism). But this little bit jumped out at me:

As with all curse words, however, frequency makes the heart grow harder. If you hear it enough, you get used it. That's certainly been the fate of the formerly shocking F word. I remember vividly as a child the first time I heard my father say it (I was blasting Alvin and the Chipmunks at 5:30 a.m., so no apology necessary), but I couldn't tell you the last time I heard it, because it has become such a familiar part of the ambient hum all around us.

Speak for yourself, "lady."

When I was a in my late teens, my older-by-about-12-years cousin accused me of having "virgin ears" when I didn't recognize double entendres, although it probably had more to do with his assumptions based on my having had a minister for a father until the age of 11. But these days that's certainly not true. Among other friends and acquaintances with "salty" language (and after living in a door room with a girl who swore every other word), I spend at least one day a week surrounded by Marines, so any virginity my ears once had has long faded, haha!--Most won't swear in front of me or else they offer a reflexive, "Oh! I'm sorry, ma'am," but at I times I move among them unobserved and so get the full color of their language.

Four-letter words come up in conversation with friends and others, but they generally don't bother me. It's not how I choose to express myself, but I'm not going to get the vapors if someone else doesn't share my fastidiousness of language. Frankly, part of why I avoid swearing is that if I developed the habit, I'd be in big trouble because I'm far too impulsive and distractable to reliably turn it on and off at appropriate times. I expect such words to make an appearance at times, and yes, they are sometimes a bit sandpapery to my sensibilities. But unless they're part of someone getting belligerent with me, most swear words just roll right off my back...

The thing is, unlike the author, I DO remember the last time someone used the f-word around me. It was Friday morning on a phone call to a former soldier I work with (technically not my boss, but I defer to him on many projects). We were discussing an upcoming event that is a tremendous opportunity for the organization, which he acknowledged when I told him of my involvement in it. His response, delivered in the tone of the former NCO he is: "Don't f--- it up."

Thanks, buddy!

But the point is, I remember it. I also know the time I heard it before that. The last time I was at the USO a large group of Marines were telling stories in the eating area while I was working quietly in the attached kitchen after having entered through a door they couldn't see. I heard every word (of which about 40% was unprintable). I had to stifle a giggle when I came around the corner carrying a tray of food and everything suddenly went g-rated.

So no, it is not the "ambient hum" of my everyday life. It's not unfamiliar to me, but somehow in my little corner of the world it's not a part of daily conversation.

Just another thing (like the post below) that makes me feel as if I were either born a couple generations late, or in the wrong era entirely... :P