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Monday, October 08, 2012

When my grandmother was exactly my age...

...she had a very low tolerance for 4 letter words. If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you've probably noticed that she and I differ somewhat in that area. But, when I take the time to think about what I'm about to say or write, something my father said always enters my head. He had many memorable edicts and one of them went like this:

"People who use foul language do so because their vocabulary is too small for them to come up  a more appropriate and less vulgar word. No child of mine is allowed to use profanity."

It's not like my father never cussed, he just thought it was his job to set rules and when someone's job is to come up with rules, they WILL come up with rules...whether that rule makes any sense whatsoever. Looking back, I think all the adults in my family had some degree or another of a potty-mouth...but they all seem to enjoy trying to create a cuss-free world beginning with the NEXT generation and my Grandmother was no exception.

She was maybe a 4 on a scale of 1 to 10. She was also one of the sweetest people I've ever known and I miss her something awful even though she's been gone for over 30 years. She never spoke ill of anyone, hated prejudice and played the piano and guitar beautifully. But when she became annoyed, she didn't hold anything back.

I annoyed her once without putting ANY effort into it. I was washing the dinner dishes for her and that was no small job. She had no dishwasher, she wanted her dishes dried and put away (not left in a dish rack to dry) and she cooked dinner, every night, 7 nights a week like she was serving a lovely Sunday afternoon dinner. She served dinner in her formal dining room every night so you had a lot of stuff to carry. It was the early 70's and like most people in those days, we listened to AM radio on those boxy electric radios usually sitting on the fridge. As I washed the dishes like a good granddaughter, I was listening to the local Top 40 station. Sunshine by Jonathon Edwards was playing. Life was sweet.

Then my grandma walked in to the kitchen. Within 10 seconds, Jonathon Edwards sang a lyric that set my grandmother off like a Southern Lady possessed by some Northern demon. That lyric was:

"He can't even run his own life, I'll be damned if he'll run mine."

I don't think I had ever realized that word was in there, I just sang along with it...I certainly never gave it any thought. So I was a bit confused when grandma blew her top. I was no longer allowed to change the radio station and I had to do dishes to the twang of Conway Twitty.

Grandma would be rolling in her grave if she was aware of what they allow on TV now. And I wouldn't blame her for rolling one little bit...it's ridiculous how low they have set their standards. You can avoid TV shows that have foul language but you're not safe from the raunchy commercials. You know they could make a 30 second commercial without swearing, why do you suppose they don't? It's not serendipity, the decision to highlight their most boorish 30 seconds was considered and for some reason, the vulgarity won.

I would never pass judgement on another person's use of 4 letter words, Lord know I've been a 7 on the potty-mouth scale. It would just be nice if you didn't have the equivalent of an R-rated commercial in the middle of the G-rated show you and your children are watching.

Maybe I shouldn't be too harsh on these people, as my father said, their vocabularies are quite limited so I guess it could be worse. But...one way or another, you'd expect a lot of words from a writer, wouldn't you?


Blogger q1605 said...

Fuck no.

October 08, 2012  
Blogger Meg Kelso said...

Fuck and words of that ilk are fine when used...like the word "ain't"... it's only forgiven if used "for humor or affect".

You my friend, used it in a way that made me smile, therefore you fulfilled one of the restrictions generally accepted for you.

Good for you!

October 10, 2012  

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