Freedom from Language

When I was in the Army, there were guys I knew who couldn’t say a single sentence without using an expletive. It was their natural way of speech. You’d be shocked if they didn’t throw an F-bomb into every thought they spoke. It made you wonder if they could ever turn it off. Would they go into an interview after getting out of the Army and be able to talk like a citizen of the world? Would they be able to go to a funeral and say something without offending everyone? I don’t really know.

I was raised in a very conservative family. We could say "poot" but we couldn’t say "fart". We used Muscogee Creek or Sac & Fox (Native American) words to talk about body parts or bathroom topics. It was like we had a secret code to bad words. I still say those words when I’m with family. My wife’s family was the same. They couldn’t say "butt". So my sister-in-law when she was a teenager once said at the dinner table, please pass the "butt—margarine". We all got a laugh at her gaff. But that’s how its like around us straight laced folks.

When I was in the Army, I picked up a few bad habits but they quickly went away when I got back home. It was easy for me because I knew where to draw the line. But many people don’t know where to draw the line. Its just a normal part of their vernacular.

Realistically, you don’t hear people of stature using foul words. A person giving a speech or a doctor or lawyer talking in professional settings doesn’t use those words. Nor should a college professor while teaching a class.

The shameful part of it is that those without a filter often are training their children to do the same. I saw a video of some toddler cursing out a store manager who was having words with her mom. And, of course, the mom didn’t stop her one bit. They were both as uncouth as ever.

I’ve said this often, but when I was in junior high, people got a giggle out of the class clown. They loved the bad boys because they were strong enough to go against societal norms. They wore clothes that were on the edge. They did things to intentionally make them different. They talked back to the teachers and swore a lot. In turn, they were popular. They got all the girls. They had their claim to fame.

Unfortunately, as I look back and think of where they are today, most didn’t make much of their lives. They didn’t end up going to college. They had failed marriages. They have tattoos that they now regret. They are rather unhealthy with obesity and a nicotine addiction.

Then there were the quiet people. The kids who had their noses in a book. The outcasts who were picked on. Those kids are now the lawyers, doctors, and professors. They are the ones with big homes and nice cars. They are the ones who have marriages that have lasted. The sacrifices they put in to their early years paid off in the long run. They are the ones who have social filters and can talk eloquently without the need for expletives.

Today’s society is filled with people who still honor the bad boys from junior high school. They still like the celebrities and rock stars who buck status quo. They still love the expletive strewn meme that is like the shock jock DJ on the FCC regulated airwaves. They love those people. But just wait. Their time will come. When you talk with them when they are 70 or 80, you’ll hear their regrets. You’ll know that they wanted something better for their lives.

In this day and age, its almost harder to be status quo. To be a quiet, unassuming person. To be a responsible citizen of a society. To be the good person who wants to help others. Those are now the anachronisms of another day and age. They said yes sir and yes ma’am. They held the door open for each other. They are the dinosaurs of yesterday.

I don’t need to be a rebel. I’m fine being the good guy.

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