Middleborough, Massachusetts is in the news. The town’s police chief wants to impose a fine on its foul mouthed residents - $20 per curse - as an attempt to curb a way of communicating that has become rampant. If you want details, it’s very easy to find on the Internet.
It didn’t take hearing this story to get my attention on the issue. To curse or not to curse, is a subject that has been prevalent forever.
And by the way, while thinking about profanity, I realized the various ways it can be described. Let’s see: there’s the aforementioned cursing and having a foul mouth; then there’s swearing, cussing, obscene language, indecent language, bad language, having a dirty mouth, having a potty mouth, vulgar language, French (as in, “Excuse my French”) and so on.
I’m not putting myself on a pedestal or being a prude, however, I will say that my husband and I don’t curse in our home. We have children who live with us and we don’t want them to curse. We never had to discuss it or make it a rule; it’s just been innate since we had them. I’m sure Darling Husband has other reasons and so do I, but it’s beside the point in this post.
This decision hasn’t been a big deal; after all, it’s my home and everyone who visits, knows to curb his or her language when my children are around. Actually, most of our visitors don’t even “slip up,” even when the kids aren’t around. The public arena is a different story.
When traveling, we’ve been known to frequent the chain restaurants, along with other vacationers and the locals. On a memorable family outing, the people in the adjacent booth were a little colorful. After dropping the f-bomb two or three times, DH couldn’t stand it any longer. First he told the waiter to say something to them, and he did – timidly - so it continued; as if they just couldn’t control themselves. Sooo… DH got up and went to their table to tell them that his wife and children were behind them at the next table, and for them to “watch their mouths,” as Darling Wife (me) prayed that he didn’t get punched.
Civilized human beings they were – they halted the bad language and quieted down.
I had an occasion to tell my cousin to watch her language, as we were on the other side of the coin having a girls get-together. It was our once-a-year reunion with three more cousins, and we may have been a little excited to see each other… okay, loud. But, we did sit away from everyone else at a table in the rear of the huge all-you-can eat restaurant - and I did - which promptly added two pounds to my a.. – oops, uh… butt; but that’s another story.
(To my nosey kids who are reading this post: “It’s a joke, girls!” An intended contradiction.)
All was good, until a Mommy, Daddy, and Toddlers came and sat two feet away from us. Darling Cousin had gotten deep into the family gossip, when “sh*t” comes out of her mouth. I glanced over to the sweet family to see if there was a reaction.
None that I noticed.
DC dropped another goody. I cringed. Then I uttered that cliché phrase, “Watch your mouth. There are children at the next table.”
My lovable cousin was confused for a second, and then issued a heartfelt apology to me. It was a revelation to her, a woman who does not have kids, that her language might be offensive.
This is a topic that I can speak more about; for instance, I don’t curse, but I’ll laugh at a good joke that has a bit of cursing in it. Hypocrite? Hmmm… Anyway, I think I’ve said enough.
Swearing, cursing, cussing - whatever you call it…
What do you think?
Image found here.