F*ck you: Cursing and Parenthood

Talking to PunditMommy the other night while watching Rachel Maddow, I brought up the subject of blogging about swearing.

“So, are you pro or anti-swearing?” she said.

“Pro, I think” I said.

“Nice, you’re a great example to your daughter”, then she gave me that “yer crazy” look and continued to read Newsweek.

Those of us prone to having a salty mouth have much to consider after having a child.  Do swear words have a place in our society out of the mouths of babes? Fuck no. On the other hand, do swear words have an appropriate place in the mouths of daddies who are pissed off at idiot drivers, lack of wipes or beer-less refrigerators? I think so. But let me build my case.

Editor’s Note: If you don’t get a distinct pleasure out of swearing then none of this will make sense. I suggest you go to YouTube and find your favorite Pat Boone concert video and take a nap with Prince Valium. You and I have nothing in common.

If you, on the other hand, feel the need to call someone a M*THERF*CKER! at the following instances, please continue reading:

1) Car passes you in left lane, gets in front of you in your lane then immediately takes right turn forcing you to slow down. M*THERF*CKER!

2) Dude/Dudette walking in front of you approaching door to retail/gym/coffe…too fast to pass but too slow for comfort, talking on cell phone about getting drunk at TGI Friday’s last week, probably works at AIG or Lehman. M*THERF*CKER!

3) Person abandons cart in middle of store aisle, goes to other aisles forcing patrons to move said cart. M*THERF*CKER!

4) Any parent who yells irrationally at their children in public or spanks in public (also, parents who let children drink condiments off table, i.e. catsup, mustard). M*THERF*CKER!

These are just some examples of instances in everyday life that drive me crazy. Do I swear in all instances? No. Do I have an anger management problem? No. But are those instances where humanity is de-evolving because of idiots and a profane, self-exclamation might be an option? Fuck yes. Most imbeciles in life cause the most damage behind the wheel of a car or on a cell phone or both.  Behind the Orange Curtain, these types of crimes against humanity are common place but incredibly unacceptable.

Now that we have appropriate M*THERF*CKER! instances. Let’s talk about how this changes when the Darling Daughter (DD) is inserted into the equation as well as some awkward, unanticipated moments.  First, Punditdad has to concede that everyday swearing must be eliminated — this is where terms like “asshole”, “shithead”, “dipshit are thrown around in casual conversation in the presence of the  DD.  For example:

PUnditdad: “Did you see that dipshit defending John McCain’s economic plan today in the NYTimes?

Punditmommy: “Don’t swear in front of the baby!”

Point taken. Unnecessary swearing is a hard lesson to learn, but Punditdad has reconciled that it’s necessary.  Could I have said “jerk” instead of “dipshit”? Certainly and that’s something I need to learn. The thing with swearing is that the words are precious diamonds and rubies of filth, not everyday nouns/verbs. They spill forth with great satisfaction because they are self-rationed.  Although Punditdad thinks that the word “fuck” itself is more powerful than “mutherfucker”, he thinks anything that incorporates Richard Pryor’s favorite noun, verb and adjective is probably off-limits.

But don’t think that Punditdad’s DD is going to grow up to be a “fucking redneck” like Levi Johnston, Bristol Palin’s new beau — someone who, in his own words, likes to “do some fishing, shoot some shit and just fuckin’ chillin’ .” and, if pushed will also, “fuck with me I’ll kick your ass.” Not quite. The difference between Profanity Pete here is that he uses cursing as a substitute for his own masculinity and judgment. Nobody told him when it’s appropriate to curse and when it’s appropriate to use the English language.  Certainly not use such language when the WORLD MEDIA descends on your MySpace page. Jerk.

Now, you may be thinking that Punditdad is an elitist that approves of cursing for other people, including DD, behind closed doors, in post-modern rock bands and in Bukowski poetry or at famous institutions of higher learning. Bingo! The Bean has permission to swear up a storm after 18 if she a) is getting straight A’s in her first year of Harvard, b) is a high school dropout who has become the lead singer for a Rolling Stones/Grand Funk type post-modern art rock band and/or c) becomes the first young Poet Laureate of the Obama Administration and utilizes cursing as a statement on the destruction of the Wall Street era and the rise of Marxism. I can overlook those instances.

But life has a way of sending in curveballs that you don’t think about or expect. The other day I was cranking the stereo with DD in the car seat the other day and this song on my mp3 player came on.  It caused me to think:

Dr. Dre “The Chronic” Fuck Wit Dre Day

Yeah, Mista Busta, where the fuck ya at?
Can’t scrap a lick, so I know ya got your gat
Your dick on hard, from fuckin your road dogs
The hood you threw up with, niggaz you grew up with
Don’t even respect your ass
That’s why it’s time for the doctor, to check your ass, nigga

Ouch! Although there are legitimate lessons in loyalty to thug life here, there’s some real tough language that, when you put your PARENT hat on, you can’t really ignore.  Now, after reading some more lyrics Wu-Tang Clan, NWA and Soundgarden, I’ve determined most of it I can’t play in the car. Most of the music Punditdad listens to, the lyrics are often indecipherable to me anyway, so I don’t see how she could hear them but some rap and hiphop is crystal clear and might be too much for a kid trying to learn “Dah-Dah”.  Let the music self-censorship begin!

So, until DD is older and can download her own filth she might have to hear the occasional “lite” swear word when Punditdad sets the hammer on his hand, the toilet overflows or he spills coffee on the clean white shirt. I’m going to try, try, try to keep the bad words for when she’s asleep or out of earshot. I know Punditmommy is there to support me and “help” me when I need comfort and reminding!

I’m wondering if you use the occasional language now and then and if so, is it ever in front of the kid/baby/young-ins? How important is it? Does it drive one spouse crazy? What’s acceptable and what’s not? Spill!

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5 Responses

  1. Classic.

    I must append #4: If within a reasonable distance from the M*THERF*CKEN parent who irrationally abused their kid in public, then a swift kick in their ass and a good yodeling of the word M*THERF*CKER in their face is duly called for.

    Besides calling my boy ‘kiddie’ or ‘mr pants’ half the time, as in ‘hey kiddie kiddie,’ I call him ‘son of a bitch’. Really though, it’s ‘you little son of a bitch’. Luckily he’s only four months, and I only use 3/4 of that sentence (‘you little son of a’) when Lilly is home or within earshot. But I cuss up a storm in front him. My favorite word of all time is ‘bastard’, so that could very well be his first. Lilly cusses too. But I know as he gets older we will make a good effort to not cuss in front of him, too much. We’re just having fun with it right now knowing he doesn’t know shit from soy formula.

  2. I tried to go all day today without using either the words “Idiot” or “Moron” and failed.

    Raised by wolves, and by wolves I mean my father the 23 year Navy Vet, I learned the value and usefullness of swearing at an early age.

    When my 3 year old son (who is now 12 and is almost better than me at swearing in context) parrotted the “Move it a$$hole” from his carseat one day, I knew I was doomed to be one of those parents that other parents look down on with scorn and remorse.

    So glad I’m not alone. 🙂

  3. Profanity Pete! Thug life! F*** yeah. I’m laughing my bass off.

  4. Dude, you and wifey need to realize that swearing in front of PunditDaughter is a total non-f*cking-issue until she’s old enough to talk and repeat what you say. This gives you loads of time to swear — and even then, you can scale back gradually.

    My wife and I had to laugh when our daughter first called something a “damn a$$”. When she blurted out “F*cking Chri$t” I had to take responsibility, but when she started with “m*therf*cker” I had to point the finger at my frau. However, neither of us will let her hear us call somebody a “f*ckin’ c*cksm*ker” — she has no understanding yet of irony.

  5. By the way, dude, what the f*ck’s with your totally jackass use of asterisks? You think you’ll slip your website past some sh*t-a$$ content filter this way? You hope that the more genteel of your readers will see “m*therf*cker” and think you really mean “snugglebunnies”?

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