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Where I Admit to Swearing Like a Sailor

June 14, 2011

Those of you who have known me for awhile will know that I actually am quite mature, and always have been. Sure, I have an intentionally immature sense of humor, and a, perhaps, unhealthy appreciation of the female form, but I’ve always come across as mature “in real life” (yes, mad woman behind the blog, I’ve always looked older than I’ve really been, so I guess I’ve always acted to support that). This has lead to some awkward situations when the “perceived John” and the “real John” intersect.

I started working my first job after college two weeks after graduation. I took a few days to stay with my mom, and then I took a few days to get situated in Baltimore, and then I started work. I was a single guy, but was looking to impress. So, I was always into the office early . . . and while I was seldom the one to stay the latest, I was more-seldom the first one to head home. I was showing that I was committed to my job.

My team was my boss, myself, a Russian immigrant here on a green-card, and Jeannine – a creative former secretary who did a little bit of graphic design. She was a whole lot like Pam from the Office after she took a job in sales, if Dunder-Mifflin were a software development firm.

First, a note about my former Russian co-worker. She was a really smart, really funny, really sweet person. But, she spoke with a heavy Russian accent. Seriously – it took me a full year to really start understanding what she was saying without giving her my undivided attention, and I never stopped thinking that it would be awesome if she came in every morning saying “Moose and Squirrel.” Anyway, as an IT office traditionally does, everyone went out to lunch for my very first day (some bar & grill in the Inner Harbor . . . I remember them having truly magnificent nachos, and I’m a nacho aficionado). My Russian coworker only ever drank water. But, when you’re ordering water with a heavy Russian accent? She was brought a shot of vodka.

Anyway, I’d do the stuff I was supposed to do. I’d get into the office as early as I could, I’d put in full days, I’d get my tasks done. I wouldn’t ever show up too hungover, or with my clothing in too badly a disarray. As far as programming went, I was pretty good. In short, I was good at my job, and it showed.

Fast forward a few months, where I’m trying to get Jeannine up-to-speed with how to integrate javascript on a web form to process validations prior to postback. The thing is, something was up with her computer. I mentioned “let’s to this on my computer because yours is all fucked up.” Jeannine stopped, dead in her tracks. I tried to figure out just what happened. Did I just fart? Is my fly down?

“I didn’t think you ever swore” she replied.

And now I’m really recoiling. Did I just offend her? Is this something that could be used to get me fired? Then, I remembered Jeannine telling me, just that morning, how she had called the housing association on a meddlesome neighbor who had been harassing her for not keeping her lawn super tidy when his dog had shit on her front yard. It was “just a fuck you”.

So, I asked her if I offended her, and she replied “oh, fuck no.” It was just that I had shaken the way she thought about me. She found out that weekend that I drank, when she saw me at a bar. I swear, I never meant to come across as squeaky clean.

Then, there was my honeymoon, where my newlywed wife & I rode that crazy ass slingshot thing on the top of the Stratosphere Casino in Las Vegas.

See, I write much like the way I speak (honestly, I type just fast enough that I can keep up a steam-of-consciousness when I write, so a blog post is usually me simply dictating to a computer – if you’ve ever spoken to me, you know there really isn’t a difference between “blog me” and “real me”), and that includes some profanity. I’ve always seen swearing much like a great dessert. A little bit, every now & then, is delectable. If you have it all of the time, though? It’s just too much. It becomes boring and ordinary.

I swear in my writing as often as I swear when I speak, and just about every time, it’s a very conscious decision (I hate it when my subconscious decides to have dessert).

Now, put me on top of the Stratosphere (this is before my fear of heights became crippling) and shoot me 160 feet into the air at 45 mile per hour . . . starting off at 900+ feet, and that “conscious decision to swear” goes out the motherfucking window. Really. I still feel like I need to wash my mouth out with soap, and that was 8½ years ago.

Now of course, I’m the father to two frustrating whiny adorable children, and I’m trying to be very cognizant of what I say around them1. I’ve stopped watching horror flicks with gratuitous nudity before 10am. I don’t listen to the Eminem Pandora Station if I’m driving with them in the car. What are the chances my kids will have the same appreciation of the strategically placed f-bomb as I like to think I have?

1 It really doesn’t matter what I say . . . my sister-in-law swears like a sailor when she’s not actively teaching first grade.

  1. Jani permalink

    Ok first let me start by saying I’ve rode that ride and I’m pretty sure I offended every person within ear shot including a 12 year old. I am a huge fan of thh ever so needed f-bomb sometimes there is no other word that fits!

  2. I occasionally swear in front of my kids. Accidentally. But also on purpose.

    (Granted they are almost 12 and 14, not toddlers, but still.)

    I’d say I run midway down the spectrum of friends whose homes are of the “stupid is a bad word” variety and the “what the fuck do you want for breakfast” kind.

    Yes. I am friends with both types. And I don’t judge. Much.

    Anyway, I’m here to say that (gasps aside) a well-placed dose of profanity can REALLY get my kids attention.

    Seriously. I don’t have to yell or even raise my voice. If, after a solid hour of bickering, my kids hear me say in a firm voice, “I’m done with this shit” I tell you.

    They shut up.

    I will also tell you that my kids do not curse (I know some people think I just don’t KNOW, but they really don’t swear in the presence of my husband, me or our adult friends – and that’s all I care about.)

    Around here, they know that with age comes privilege:

    Driving a car, voting, drinking wine, and saying SHIT to your kids.

    Not everyone’s down for this lesson. But it works for me.

    It works for all of us.

  3. My husband THINKS he’s being conscious of what he says around Alex. Unless, you know, his parents are on the phone or there’s a ball game on TV or….you know.

    I’m anticipating we’re raising a potty mouth.

  4. It’s been 7 1/2 years, but who’s counting?

  5. When I’m not a nanny?

    I say “fuck.”

    A. Lot.

    Just not in front of my kid.

  6. I’m way prim and proper. Until I’m w/ good friends. And my husband can’t hear. I’ve heard HIM swear twice in the 11 years we’ve been together. So when he hears me swear he gets all sorts of cranky.

  7. GrandeMocha permalink

    My son was 2 when he learned to say “Shit!” When he dropped something. I have explained since then that there are words that he shouldn’t use in front of teachers, lunch ladies, bus driverss, etc. Or he will get in Big Trouble. Use them when appropriate, not every other word.

  8. Well. You’re pretty clear on my type of vocabulary, right? That said – my kids are very little and all impressionable and cute and I don’t show my trucker-mouth to them. Not on purpose. Mostly. We do listen to Eminem in the car, though. And Rhianna. I just tell them that if they hear a bad word, forget it – the music is bumpin!

  9. You just type what you think? Writing that much would have taken me two fucking days. You should blog more.

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