If you are a regular follower of Leslie's Magical Adventures in Weblogging, first of all -- I love you! Keep reading me! When I'm rich and famous there'll be a spot for you in my entourage, I promise.
Secondly, the sharper-eyed readers among you may have noticed something a little different about the last few entries.
The word “fuck,” to be precise.
Yes, my dear little net-buddies, in keeping with my recent drive toward self improvement and spiritual enlightenment, I have decided to eradicate all things obscene from my writing, beginning with my most-cherished curse word. Not so much because I have to -- although it would probably cut down on the number of misdirected Googlers searching for “chunky women fucking construction workers” (see Better Red Than Dead) who occasionally visit my blog -- but because I bet myself I can make through an entire day without uttering the “f” word a single time.
Little did I know quitting swearing was going to be even harder than quitting drinking.
Well, really. I mean, come on! “Fuck” is just such a fucking -- oops -- such a versatile little word. In addition to being everyone’s favorite verb (for obvious reasons), it functions quite handily as a noun (as in “that fuck”), an adjective (“such a fucking nincompoop”), or even as a clever variation on existing words (“fuckhead,” “fuckwit,” and my personal favorite, “fuckface” all spring to mind). It communicates such a range of emotion when it appears in a sentence: lust (“fuck me”), anger (“fuck YOU”), frustration (“fuck it”), surprise (“what the fuck?”), or dismay (“oh, fuck”). It glides into our everyday vernacular with perverse ease, adding that little extra “oomph” to otherwise bland and ordinary sentences. Why tell someone to “shut” up when you can tell them to “shut the fuck up?” And wouldn’t you leave a room more quickly if told to “get the fuck out” as opposed to just “get out?”
Of course you would.
As a writer, how could I not be drawn to such a multifaceted yet succinct expression?
Plus, I always feel like such a badass motherfucker whenever I say it.
At any rate, several people whose opinions I respect have made the tactful suggestion that I might want to rethink my vocabulary if I ever want to reach a broad enough audience to become very famous and be invited to appear on The Today Show (hey, it could happen!) Since these suggestions were phrased so artfully and sprinkled so liberally with flattery (“Your writing is so strong - it can stand on its own!”), well, I couldn’t help but take notice. What the f…heck, I said to myself. If other writers can do without swearing, why can’t I?
And so began my Day Of No Cursing.
Oh, it was hard. So f -- sorry -- so very hard. From the break of dawn (when I spilled my first cup of coffee and wanted nothing more than to yell, “Oh, fuck me hard!” at no one in particular), to my trek to the gym (when I itched to mouth “Fuck you, you fuckhead!” to the guy in the Blazer who cut me off on Boylston Street) to my exasperation when my computer crashed yet again for no particular reason, wiping out three pages of unsaved text (which just begged for one or two shrieks of “Fuck this shit!”), I felt as though I were walking around with a big strip of duct tape slapped over my mouth.
Other, tamer, expressions were but unsatisfying substitutes. “Oh, fudge!” only made me hungry. “You stupidhead!” made me sound five years old. And “forget this!” was no proper outlet for the blind rage that seethed inside me.
To make matters worse, I suddenly became quite attuned to the speech patterns of everyone around me, desperate for any opportunity to swear vicariously through others. My ears perked up every time I heard the squeal of brakes in the hopes of catching an errant “Watch out, you dumb fuck!” I tailed clumsy-looking pedestrians up and down Mass Ave, hoping one would stumble conspicuously enough to utter a tiny little “Oh, fuck!”of embarrassment just loud enough for me to overhear. I even took the Number One bus to work, just so I could sit right behind the chattering methadone addicts on my bus ride home that afternoon, waiting in vain for the tall one to go off on a rant over that “fucking asshole” ex-boyfriend she‘s always complaining about.
In all, it was a wholly unsatisfying day. But for one thing.
The only time I didn’t feel the urge to swear was while I was writing. Of course, I happened to be working on a piece about pathological gambling at the time, but even when I took a break to continue my investigation into the true identity of the Chunky Highlights Mystery Searcher, I had no particular compulsion to call him or her a fucking psycho stalker. Nor was I even tempted to write, “Come out, come out, wherever the fuck you are!” as I might have in blogs past.
Nope. I just typed along, blithely pouring out my pure-as-the-driven-snow prose for the enjoyment of one and all, not even really thinking about what I wasn’t saying. In fact, although I didn’t quite make it through the Day of No Cursing unsullied (well, I stubbed my toe, for God’s sake! On the corner of my bed! What would you have yelled?) I have managed to make it through six whole blog entries without using the word “fuck” once.
Of course, the fact that I’ve used it 27 times in today’s entry alone kind of wipes out that little milestone, doesn’t it? Hmm. I never thought of that when I started this.
Well, you know what they say. The “road to hell” and all that other shit…uh, stuff…uh….
Fuck it. I give up.