Szyperski: Word to your motherWritten by Shannon Szyperski | | firstname.lastname@example.org
I am of the opinion that most everything in life has a purpose, a reason for being. Even things that seem to have no intrinsic value actually have some positive kernel lurking deep down inside. The point of life isn’t just to find the goodness in every person, but rather the goodness in every single thing we encounter on this Earth.
Parenthood is sometimes the vehicle that delivers this message that value exists in everyone and everything. It is through our children that we are able to see the sunny side of life in things both great and small. Our babies remind us of life’s fragility, our toddlers remind us of the wonders of the world and our teenagers remind us of the beauty of profanity.
Seriously, profanity has its place.
I used to think that place was adolescence, a time meant to find your position in the world partially by spewing nearly constant, well-crafted expletives. It was a time to immerse oneself in curse-word-laced pop culture and carry on conversations perfectly peppered with B-words and F-bombs. I used to believe that swearing was a pastime for the young and thought I would have to give it up almost entirely as I gracefully matured into full-fledged adulthood.
However, as I venture further and further down a road that will soon enough include teenagers in my home, I realize that the beauty of profanity exists not so much for the young, but much more for those of us dealing with Play-Doh mashed into our carpeting, muddy fingerprints on our walls, revolving doors on our bedroom and bathroom, the sound of screaming, crying and/or arguing every 12 to 14 minutes/seconds, a crisis around every corner and a million bazillion tasks to perform for a gazillion different people every single frickin’ day for as long as we can imagine.
Profanity is for the parents.
I feel fortunate to be parenting at a time when ’90s cultural elements like Quentin Tarantino movies, rap music and HBO thrust even the most taboo of offensive terminology into the “Fairly Acceptable Everyday Language” column. The more innocuous A-word and D-word have graciously scooted over to give the F-word and even MF-word seats at the grown-up table. As close as they come to stripping away all meaning due to overuse, cultural moments in time like “Pulp Fiction” paved the way for 37-year-old PTA-type moms like me to have some sort of victimless frustration outlet.
Mind you, I’m not uttering it on the daily in front of my children, but I am hearing it come from my fellow 30- and 40-year-old mothering colleagues on an as-needed basis, which I quite honestly find refreshing. A need for such may come as a surprise to some, but science actually backs up the contention that cursing holds a good and decent place in our world. Letting the expletives fly offers increased pain tolerance, an alternative to more physically aggressive outlets, a means to humor and self-expression and a feeling of power and control, especially appreciated when it comes to motherhood, one of the most powerless, out-of-control-feeling positions on the planet.
In short, swearing makes us feel better and helps us get on with our 24/7/365 parenting lives.
It’s not just the opportunity to partake in Clark Griswoldesque obscenity-enriched tirades on occasion. I also cherish the chance to enjoy four-letter words as music to my ears through explicit song versions when the kids aren’t around. No matter how old I get, I have yet to get through a year without having at least a few Rage Against the Machine/Cee-Lo Green/Kanye West kinds of days.
Profanity is by no means a new, cutting-edge concept that my generation mistakenly thinks it has cornered the market on. Yet, we may be one of the first to fully appreciate the F-bomb’s merit and give credence to its position as the smurf word of adulthood (i.e., giving authority to sneak it in wherever we think life’s verbiage could use a little something extra). There is a reason that Ralphie’s grouchy ol’ dad in “A Christmas Story” holds a certain amount of heroic value; we all have that temperamental furnace in the basement, a broken major award in our front window and a kid accidentally tossing essential tire bolts randomly out into the dark winter’s night pretty much every single day of our parenting lives.
So, yes, my friends, sometimes “fudge” just isn’t enough. We can all use “the queen mother of dirty words, the ‘F’ dash dash dash word” in our lives at least on occasion. After all, the point of life is to find the good, even in things we were raised to think were bad.
Shannon Szyperski and her husband, Michael, are raising three children in Sylvania. Email her at letters@toledo freepress.com.
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