(sorry for the hiatus for your moment(s) of zen. but it's back! yay! enjoy!)
as parents it's sort of a built in thing to watch your Ps and Qs. you know, lest the children pick up on your more unsavory habits.
i am really good at this sometimes, and sometimes my mouth gets the better of me. or just broadcasts the worst.
in short, i can swear like a sailor. and sometimes i do. oh it's just your standard fare. nothing too outrageous. it's not like i'm The Rooster or anything (david sedaris' brother, paul) but still, i'm a mom and moms "shouldn't" swear around their kids.
i love that word, shouldn't. it's SO encapsulating of all the things we "could" (and do) lie awake and fret about in the wee hours. if you want to cut a mom off at the knees, throw out a well timed "shouldn't." ka-POW!
anyhow, so i swear and the boybarians know they aren't allowed to.
i own the hypocrisy, i get it, i try, i fall short.
what i tell them is that they haven't yet earned the right to swear. that when they grow up and get older and gain life experience then they have earned the right to say whatever they want. in the meantime, they have more creative and imaginative language to learn. because swearing, while it can be colorful, is lazy. plus, it's incumbent upon them to please exercise restraint as their young brains take in the world around them.* **
*see above re: hypocrisy.
** this does not apply to swear words in other languages. which are perfectly acceptable. except if we're ever in the country of origin.
but that does not mean that they aren't taking it all in. and i can appreciate that, and if a situation calls for a well timed swear word, then so be it. you fall off your bike, dump your entire bowl of cereal on the floor, bend your favorite baseball card on accident, i can see the situation where it would be appropriate.
but still, they really don't. not with the good stuff anyway.
case in point. a few weeks ago the duke was grousing about something that really was bugging him, some outside injustice or some slight, i can't even remember. and he said to me
"excuse me for this, mama, but that's really STUPID if you ask me!"
i know. what i have to put up with, right?
but stupid is a swear word and i'll tell you why. because it's unkind. and it's overused and misused. and moreover because it's too. damned. easy. to. use.
same goes for shut up. especially, shut up.
anything that can just fly off your tongue with no thought whatsoever should be a swear word.
that's why i use the word fuck all the time. i really don't mean to. but it's like it's just perched on the tip of my tongue and it just waits there to take the leap. sometime it doesn't even wait. it just leaps.
just like words that describe people's physical characteristics unfavorably are swear words, too. it's just too easy to put someone down based on their looks. to form that kind of judgment right away. and we learn it as kids and it's awfully hard to stop even as we get older and "know better."
awhile ago the duke asked me what "retarded" meant. and i told him what it was and how and why kids use it.
"oh, i can see that. it's from a piano term, ritardando, meaning slow down. it's italian."
ever the wordsmith.
but did he "get" why it was bad?
"but can you see how it would be hurtful, right? whether or not a child is really differently-abled or it's just a put down, you can see how it's not a kind word. right?"
and rolling his eyes (which SHOULD be a swear word) he said
"of course, mama. it's MEAN. i would NEVER say that and would be upset if my friends called someone that. but it's just too bad they have to mess up a nice word."
it is in this spirit that i bring you today's moment(s) of zen.
it's about 10 minutes but worth it. please do not listen to this if you don't like swearing, LOTS of swearing, are around kids, or are at work.
(as a caveat i tried to get david sedaris reading this but couldn't find it.)