Sunday was a pretty good day. My parents and Jamie came over for a softball game, and Sammi met us, and the weather was nice and sunny and we all just relaxed in the grass and the sun and watched a doubleheader and it was good.
At some point, one of my sisters asked me if I’d told Dad about the Diet Cock incident, although she used some kind of code because none of us is comfortable saying “cock” around our dad. It’s not a word I say out loud all that often anyway. I said I hadn’t told him, because it would be awkward, but if they wanted him told then Mom had to tell him because I’d called her in Atlanta and told her the story already. And Dad’s like, “What, the concession stand thing? Yeah, I already heard about that.” And Mom says she didn’t tell him, and everyone wants to know how he found out, and he says, “I think I read it on your website.”
HI, DAD! THANKS FOR READING MY WEBSITE!
It’s certainly no secret in my family that I keep this website. In fact, I often threaten to write embarrassing things about my family here when they’re pissing me off. I’m very careful about what I write about, not only because of the possibility that my parents will read it, but also because of the possibility that ANYONE IN THE UNIVERSE could read it. So it’s weird. I’m not like “oh snap, Dad found my website,” but I’m just kind of – I don’t know – stranged out by it (which is my new way of saying weirded out that I just made up this very second, in case you were wondering). But not in a bad way.
My parents don’t read it regularly, and they’re pretty open about that. In fact, Dad says he ran across it last week while looking in the bookmarks or history bar for another website, and that’s cool. I don’t care if they read it every day, or if they don’t read it at all.
So, here’s the thing. It turns out that, of all the things about this website that might upset my parents, the thing that bothers them the most is that I choose to use profanity in my writing. I actually think that they’re ashamed that I have this website because of my language, and that they hope no one they know finds out about it. And, I don’t know, I’m just kind of bemused about that.
Because, see, for one thing, both of my parents curse – Mom more than Dad, but they both do – and the over-18 daughters in the family occasionally (or sometimes frequently) curse in their presence, and as long as no one goes overboard, uses any variation of the f-word, or uses God in the cursing, it generally slips by. Mom in particular is pretty fond of saying “shit,” and might say it a hundred and fifty times on a good day. I point this out, and mention that maybe Mom isn’t the most shining example of using clean language, and her response is, “Well, it’s different because I don’t write it on the INTERNET FOR EVERYONE IN THE WORLD TO READ.”
Aha! But I just did.
My dad doesn’t get it. He thinks it cheapens people, and women in particular, to use such language, and he’s never understood its appeal. I ask how it is exactly that women are more cheapened than men by using profanity and he’s all “whatever, I’m old-fashioned, it just does,” and I point out that profanity – particularly in my writing – is a conscious language choice just like every other word I write. I’m far more likely to slip and speak a curse word when I didn’t intend to than I am to write one when I didn’t intend to. In any case, I sometimes think a profane word is the most satisfying choice, and I think I’ve probably gotten too old to let my parents shame me into not cursing anymore.
And then I came back home and I thought about it some more, and I began to worry that maybe the cursing was getting out of control. Because sometimes I curse a lot a lot a lot (usually when stressed), and sometimes it’s not so bad. Stupid parents.
So I read back through the posts from the last month or so, and I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t find nearly as many curse words as I feared I’d find, especially in proportion to all the other words I wrote in the last month. Here’s the list (not counting today):
- crackwhore (possibly not even a curse word, depending on your upbringing)
- cock (twice, and necessary to the story being told)
- ass (twice, once in relation to kissing and once in relation to laughing)
- damn (twice)
- clusterfuck (this and “bullshit” are with regards to Liberty University, and my personal philosophy on all things related to Liberty University is that CURSING IS ALWAYS OKAY. THE DIRTIER, THE BETTER.)
- dammit (three times, about the cat)
Anyway. That’s not nearly as bad as I thought it might be.
I think part of it is the whole idea of when and where it’s appropriate to use profane language. My parents thinks it’s okay to use profanity sparingly, at home or around close friends and family. They wouldn’t curse in public, they wouldn’t curse at work, and for them, it seems that cursing on a website is the equivalent of screaming profanity in the middle of the town square.
I guess I just don’t see it that way. I think I have a pretty solid idea of when and where it’s okay to curse, and my personal website seems like a perfectly appropriate space for whatever language I choose to use.