H-E-Double Hockeysticks, Part 1 / by Dan Mayer

I have severe potty-mouth. Life is at its richest when everyone has had a couple of drinks and the deep profanity can be unleashed. It can be a joyous thing to push people a little bit, to approach the point of offense and do a verbal pirouette right on the line. 

I am also an unbelievable bastard while driving. My fellow motorists often leave something to be desired in terms of skill and decision-making, and I have been known to address them in an inappropriate manner in full voice. At times I am artfully profane, often merely vulgar, but for me this abuse of language is like sport. It is a huge part of how I express myself. Problem is, I also have a four-year-old daughter who is vacuuming in every fucking word I say like Satan's own stenographer. And a wife who is invested in our child not being the first in per peer group to call a fellow toddler a vile fuck. I might have different thoughts on the matter, but I tend to always be wrong when it comes to my different thoughts. Better to trust the motherly instinct to nurture, protect, and educate, rather than my own instinct to inform, amuse, and weaponize. Which is all to say that I am supposed to stop swearing in front of the kid.

Hell’s fire.

This is not unlike asking a master magician not to teach his kid any card tricks. Worse yet, it involves my practicing a measure of self-control that seems... unlikely. We are in this weird place where my rational mind agrees with my wife that some self-censorship is required here, but the vast uncharted depths of my irrational mind want to continue belching forth F, S, and C-bombs for my child to learn and practice on her own time. I would teach her that profanity, if artfully applied, is a great thing, a useful tool for communication, a way to indicate a desire to transgress without having to commit to the act.

Yes. Wrong. Totally wrong. Bad parenting. Shabby secular humanism.

So I buckle down and do my best not to use profanity in front of my daughter. It has proven to be an uphill battle. It turns out that I swear constantly, and often for no good reason. I use the word fucking the way many people use the word very. The fact that I also use the word very just as much does nothing to diminish the occurrence of fuckingShit is just the replacement noun I deploy in any sentence where I don't have the actual noun available, usually because I'm very tired. As in, “Can you pick up all of this shit and put it back in the drawer?” If I stopped to think, I could conjure the actual noun, but no. There will be no stopping to think. 

Should my daughter be denied the possibilities of profanity because of the loaded meaning it has for many other people? Obviously. 

Parenthood makes hypocrites of us all.