Small Things

If you’re not thinking about Blink 182 now, I’m not sure why you’re here.

You can stay, though.

I did a lot of yoga today, so I am relaxed beyond reason, which is a nice way to feel on a Monday evening. There are a few more things to accomplish tonight, including this blog post, but I feel productive and successful already.

One of the mantras today was about gratitude, which is always useful to consider. But in the midst of it, I was also thinking about profanity. (I know, you’re supposed to clear your mind, but there’s always something in there–may as well be an aimless something.)

I was thinking about profanity mostly because I have a tendency, when reflecting on my mantras, to insert f-bombs. I’m not just grateful; I’m fucking grateful. I like thinking it that way. It feels more forceful.

Yes, I know meditating and yoga with profanity are real things now. I don’t necessarily feel the need to use those approaches, however. I bring my own swearing to the equation.

I really love profanity. I don’t often swear in anger because I’m not often angry–although everyone deserves a solid motherfucker when they stub their toe. For me, swearing is as much about sound and energy as it is the words themselves.

Besides, motherfucker is just such a good word.

There are prettier words, of course, and I like them, too. Confluence. Ephemeral. Petrichor.

But really, just say it: motherfucker. (Or whatever your favorite is.)

It’s not even about the meaning of those words. In fact, I like the most general ones, I think, because it’s harder to use them to hurt people. E.g., some women really like to throw around cunt and bitch, but I’m not wholly comfortable with those words. Because they are still too often said with barbs. And I’m not sure I believe in reclamation.

(Don’t get me started on racial and religious and homophobic slurs. They’re not what I’m about because it’s hard to imagine them being said in a truly neutral way.)

But generic curse words–they don’t actually have any power to harm on their own. They’re individual. Personal. If you know me pretty well, you know fuck is as much punctuation as it is vocabulary for me. You know I also don’t swear around my mother. I try not to swear around kids. Depending on the place, I may or may not swear at work.

(People in D.C. swear more in the workplace than anyone else. No surprise there.)

I’m all for respect. But there are so many worse things we do than use profanity. Crueler things. More offensive things. Fuck doesn’t have to be a big fucking word. It’s a little fucking word, really. Four little letters. Gotta love that opening fricative, that ending plosive. It’s a hard little word, fuck, but it’s also utilitarian as fuck. And sometimes there’s beauty in utility.

At first, maybe, it was partly about the transgression of it. Maybe it still is in some ways. I don’t want to have to be classy or delicate or reserved all the time and a well placed fuck shatters that. Some situations merit some blistering obscenity.

Even if they don’t: fuck it.



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