What The HELL…

What the hell are you doing?

I hear those words
Much less these days.

I heard them
From my father
An uncle or two
My brothers, certainly.

Yes, I heard them from
Military drill instructors,
Later Corporals and Sargents.

Oh yes,I heard the words
From a boss or two,
Even a wife or two.

More interestingly,
I heard them
From myself a time or two.

I, on those rare occasions
Seem to be outside myself looking in
Providing the rudder
Others have provided.

The rudder shoving, even directing
Footsteps down the pathway
Not on the grass or in the mud,
But back on The Byway.

Originally written:    April 4, 1999 altered 03/21/2015

It was common to hear cuss or swear word or words
in any sentence from my dad and uncles.  It was part
of their normal every day use of verbal communication
with family, friends, or strangers.  Mother was a
lady.  I remember her words as genteel and ladylike.
Mom would use words like “fiddlesticks”, “Sugar”, and a
few others.  I never heard her utter one of the cuss
words dad used.

I have wondered about the marriage and relationship of
this genteel lady and this gruff, rough man.  How did
mom stay with this man when they were so different?
Yet, I know they loved each other intensely.  They were
visible in their affection for each other.  They were
also visible in their anger and fights.  I understand
mom and dad’s world was a rougher and tougher time.
They grew up in a time of “doing without”, the Depression,
and World War II.  Dad was injured in the landing at
Casablanca and many years recovering.

I find my use of cuss or swear words is very rare.  It is when
I do I am embarrassed I used bad language.  I am saddened
I let myself get angry enough I lose my use of
the fullness of the English language.  Yes, I know
those swear words are in some dictionarys. They are
even acceptable in certain places and circles. There are
so many other words to use to better illustrate the
specific point I am trying to make.   I did not receive
any specific rules when to use or not to use cuss words from
dad’s vocabulary.  That language was part of their
everyday lives.  It is not a part of my life nor do I
want it to be.

4 responses to “What The HELL…

  1. Great post. My viewpoint of casual language is different than yours (I tend to cuss a lot, especially before my coffee), but I recognize that it is not correct in polite or formal company.

    • Doug, Dad never said two sentences without a swear word or two. I loved him dearly. I commend you for being open and sharing your thoughts. There are places and times when his language was/is appropriate. I like your blog and decided to follow it.. Thanks.

  2. I grew up in a milieu where cursing was the norm, not at home, but in the street. I doubt from the time I was 6 until 17 I ever had a conversation without throwing in a string of obscenities. That ended abruptly when I became a serious reader and discovered the beauties of language. I decided I’d much rather speak like Oscar Wilde than the kids I grew up with. I love elegant language, I love to hear it, to read it, and I love to use it. I feel transported by it. I still slip sometimes and utter the occasional four letter word, but it’s no longer ingrained in me the way it used to be.

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