July 03, 2009


I curse a lot.  Probably too much.  I don't know exactly when this all started.  When I was a boy, I never cursed out loud.  Oh, I probably thought the words, but made suitable substitutes when the words came out of my mouth.  Dang, shoot, geez ... I think the worst word that I ever said was crap, and that was rare.  It was the same way in high school, and even into my college years.  No, I think it was when I started working full time at the pet food plant that I really began to roll.  The shits and goddamns were plentiful, but I had to watch it with fuck and his more profane brother, motherfucker.  After all, about a third of the plant's work force consisted of women, and even though some of them could put me to shame, I was taught not to curse around women.

I really reached my cursing pinnacle when I took a job at a pet food plant in Pennsylvania.  There were no women working in this plant, so everyone, and I mean everyone let fly with every conceivable English swear word known in the modern world, and if you were really proficient, you cursed in Polish and German too.  I'm a impressionable guy, so I joined right in, and soon every other word coming out of my mouth was a swear word.  Incidentally, I was so impressionable during this time that I also started chewing snuff, but had to quit because I kept swallowing it.

Jan was highly dismayed by the cursing (and the snuff use), and kept telling me to stop, but I didn't until I was promoted and transferred to an office.  At that time, I had to dial it waaaaay back, and have done pretty well, until the last year or so.  I'm starting to let words go in public that I shouldn't, so recently, I've decided that I need to be more mentally aware of the words I say before I say them.

Today, I slipped.  I was getting a haircut this morning, and Theresa (the nice woman who cuts my hair) and I were talking about something when I let "fuck" get out.  I realized what I had done and kept talking, hoping that she hadn't noticed.  But when I finished my thought and she replied, she started peppering her sentences with "fuck" also.  I didn't know where to be shocked or amused, but I think I was more amused.  We continued cussing until she finished, without a thought as to what we were saying.

Now ... this is what people do!  And I never really thought about it until today, but you see this kind of behavior all of the time.  It involves questionable behavior being rationalized as long as everyone does it.

Cursing is a good example.  A group of people can be talking, and one person rips out a curse word, and suddenly, more people join in. Same thing with business lunches.  The waitress comes around and asks everyone what they want to drink.  Everyone looks at each other and then the unlucky first person starts out saying "Coke", or "Tea". But if one person orders alcohol, almost everyone else after him/her will probably order it too, and more often than not, the first person that ordered will end up changing his/her order to alcohol also.

Smoking is a different dynamic.  Two people may know each other for weeks or months and then the following occurs:  Given the circumstances, usually stressful, one person produces a pack of cigarettes, pulls one out of the pack and lights up.  The other person stares at him/her and says" I didn't know you smoked".  The first person looks kind of sheepish, but then the second person says "Me too!  Gimme one!"  And a solid relationship is formed.  Of course, this can go entirely in the other direction also.  The second person may end up loathing the smoker for his filthy ways.

In any event, this shit is pretty fascinating to me, and just confirms my belief that I should have been a psychologist.  Just think of the fucking excellent papers I could publish!

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