Thursday, May 7, 2015

Zen and the Art of Swearing

Okay, this really has nothing to do with Zen, but it is about swearing.

I seem to have a split personality when it comes to swearing. I swear in my writing a lot. I swear in my head a lot. But whenever I’m in front of people, I don’t swear unless it’s the necessary part of a joke I’m telling. Even then, when I utter the curse word, it comes out with a bit of a childish, embarrassed emphasis on it, sort of whispering the word as if I’m somehow disappointing my parents, even though they’re far out of earshot.

"I'm afraid you've let down your country, Mr. Arnold."
A certain in-law of mine swears so much, I don’t think he even realizes it. He can’t get a sentence out without at least a couple f-bombs sprinkled in. Doesn’t matter if kids or the elderly are present. And if you’ve been around him enough, you hardly even hear the swearing. In fact, if he didn’t swear for a couple of sentences in a row, you’d be like, “Dude, are you okay? What’s wrong?” And he’d most likely answer, “Nope, nothin’s fuckin’ wrong.”


His swearing isn’t mean-spirited, either - it just is. (Hey, there you are, Zen!)

"Fuckin' ohmmmm"
One memory I look back upon with amusement is from when I was a preschooler over at a friend’s house. We were out swinging on his swing-set and just started swearing. With each swing forward, we took turns shouting out a swear word. Damn! Shit! Pee! Hell

There was something freeing and joyous about it, swinging on the swing-set and yelling out swear words at the top of our lungs. It was energizing, invigorating – we were in the moment, one with the universe. (Okay, maybe this is a little bit about Zen.)

Eventually his mom heard us, and I’m guessing he got in trouble (he was called into his house with a stern voice, at the very least.) 

"I'm sending you to military school. At least they don't curse there!"
So the lesson here is if you’re ever feeling down and out, go somewhere safe – preferably where no one can hear you – and swear at the top of your lungs. An abandoned quarry works well (great echo effect!) as does the inside of your car. Just make sure it’s done with joy – not anger – and I bet you’ll feel better in no time at all.

And if for some reason you’re arrested for disorderly conduct or causing a public nuisance – you didn’t hear it from me, fuckos!

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