Monday, October 27, 2014

And I swear ...

(You know you're singing now.)
(Also it works because, like in the cheesy '90s song, I do swear by pretty much any celestial configuration.)

So, it's no secret that a lot of stuff has been happening lately in the newsroom. And because of my natural predilection for hyperbole and my love for words, I feel a strong desire to use words like "harrowing" and "bloodletting" to describe it. But the thing is: There really are harrowing bloodlettings, and they go on all of the time. I've never been near one or had to even really consider it. They're things that other people experience. Even in this latest round of what I might consider harrowing, I'm one of the people least affected. So it's made me consider my evolving relationship with language. I think I'm losing a lot of nuance. I go straight from adjective to expletive, with hardly any gray area. I mean, I don't think I'm the only one; I think the constant buzz of media, social or otherwise, exaggerates the need for exaggeration. Still, one thing I'm proud of is my precision, and I'm clearly losing it.

Also because of said stuff going on in the newsroom, I've been swearing a lot more. Which, I know, is hard to believe. So since last week I've been considering quitting. It's not the first time; in college I stopped saying "bitch" and "son of a bitch" because of the terms' misogyny. Around 2000 I quit using the sex-based swears because I'm sex-positive; things like f*ck, s*ck, blow, those things should be positive unless they're not, in which case they're likely a different word, like felony. At any rate, that's not something to just throw around. 

Predictably, that non-sex-based-swear time did not last long. It doesn't leave much, and I'm pretty literal, so the scatological ones kinda gross me out. So I fell back into old habits. And I am using bitch again, though almost exclusively about men and to their faces. Still, not a great habit. 

Also, there's this weird thing where people show genuine (but shocking) surprise when they discover my penchant for profanity. It happens mostly when I meet people at work. A couple weeks in, when I first let loose a swear word, I always hear, "Wait. You swear?" I have no idea why this is, but it happens fairly consistently. And, you know, maybe I should live up to whatever non-profane potential they see in me. 

So, in thinking about it again, I've chatted with a few people. One friend seemed shocked that I would even consider it. He strongly urged against it, saying that swearing is cathartic, a great emotional release. And I get that. But this weekend, when I started counting my reps on the weight machine "One m*therf*cker, two m*therf*cker," I knew that the words didn't mean that much to me anymore.

So I'm going to try. I've been pretty quitty lately, what with the Facebook and the Amazon (Super Walmart In The Sky, really). I like these little hiatuses; they help me consider my habits. We'll see how long this one lasts.

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