Follow me, if you will, back to my childhood. I grew up with two brothers. So, not surprisingly, those days of yore were filled with the most awful kind of cuss words:
- Stupid Butt!
and the combo slur…
- You stupid-butt dummy!
Like any mom with more than one kid in the house, my mom tolerated many of our epithets with bored irritation, but for some reason when we dared call one another a fool, Mama would go off.
“What have I told you, Charlotte? I told you not to call anybody that!” It was a biblical thing–something about burning in hottest hell for all eternity if you either a.) killed somebody or b.) called your fool brother a fool.
Of course, fool became our most treasured cuss word. We would secretly lob it at one another whenever we could get away with it.
- Time to wake up…fool!
- Good night…fool!
- Move out of my way…fool!
- Gimme my marbles back, you stupid dummy…fool!
- Mama told me to tell you to get in the house…fool!
- Pass the Grey Poupon, fool!
When I got older, imagine my surprise to learn that other kids were cussing like they did on HBO and Cinemax! Real cuss words like (bleep) and (bleep) and mother(bleep)er. I was thunderstruck! We were 16 years old, my friends were cable-caliber cussers and I was still whispering the word fool behind my mama’s back. I swear, it wasn’t until I was about 36 years old that I could confidently cuss without looking around to see if Mama was standing there, hand on her hip, beckoning me over with a bible and a switch.
F*ck the days of yore, come back with me to 2013. I’m still not what you’d call a habitual cusser. Upset, arouse or entertain me enough and I might release with the b-word or the s-word or an a-hole. Overall, though, I tend to keep the dialogue pretty G-rated. Plus, I’m trying to create some delightenment over here! And, until this week, I didn’t believe bad words would be existing in the fully delightened world of my creation. You never heard of Gandhi calling Mother Teresa a dirty c-word , b-word a-wipe, and while the rumor is that Mother Teresa did have a trucker mouth, you never actually heard her cuss, either. So, in my mind, there are words that the delightened just don’t say.
That was before this week.
This week, I watched this clip of Tony Robbins talking to a crowd of what seemed like a bunch of oldish, fuddy-duddy, tepid-looking Australians. Now, Robbins is one of today’s most prominent self-help authors and motivational speakers. I’d only really ever heard him do his coaching on network television. He oozes easy confidence, enlightened power, refined suavity, and when he flashes those healthy white horse teeth, you feel safely enveloped in this sort of Mr. Rogers-meets-Hulk Hogan security Snuggie.
Um…so…when Robbins dropped the “F” bomb in front of all those old people I about choked on my Sour Cream and Onion Pringle. When he asked the middle-aged women at the microphone when the last time was she “blew her husband,” I…I…I…I poured out more Pringles, got me some dipping hummus, and really, really started to pay attention thinking Fool, this s-word just got good!
I don’t think I’ll ever be an all-out cusser, but I am glad to know that I’m okay with a little salty language existing in the world I’m trying to create for new Charlotte. Yes, I believe an occasional bad word or two or seven will fit quite nicely in my sparkly new living space.
Still, though, I’m glad my mom doesn’t follow my tweets, Facebook posts or read my blog. Ain’t nobody got time for the kind of mama drama that would come with all that!
Til next time!