Sunday, January 01, 2006

COLUMN: Mother@%!&#r!

Well, it's New Year's time, and that means it's time to come clean about our imperfections and resolve to better ourselves in the coming year.

Yeah, right. Actually, it's the time that we come clean about an imperfection, spend a couple of resolute weeks trying to better ourselves, and then realize that imperfections are what make us all unique and throw away our grand resolutions over a conciliatory Egg McMuffin. (Especially true when one's resolution that year was to cut back on one's Egg McMuffin intake.)

But this year, I'm going to at least give this New Year's resolution thing a try, because there's one thing I do want to change. I'm a professional member of society. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree. (And if you don't believe me, it's Velcro-ed to my wall at home -- come over and I'll show you.) The point is, I'm now at that place in life where I'm supposed to carry myself in a certain manner.

I will never be able to make the Eliza Doolittle transition. I'm always going to think wine (red and white) tastes ucky. I will always use the wrong fork. I will always put my elbows on the table. These are things that are too inherent to my character to change; change THEM, change ME, and I don't want to lose my sense of self, thanks. But there's one thing that can and should be changed while keeping my sense of self fairly intact.

I have a potty mouth. I say naughty words, and I say them a lot. In fact, it's oftentimes REALLY tough to write this column every week without trying to insert one of my four-lettered friends. I write like I think, and sometimes I think vulgarily (if that's a word.) (No, it's not. -- Editor)

Some of you may know that I'm also a contributing editor to a music Webzine, However, I don't want ANY of you guys to check out my occasional columns on Excellent, because they're so expletive-ridden that you'll probably never read one of these columns the same way. (Suffice it to say, there are a lot more creative ways to say "This CD sucks," and I've probably come up with about all of them.)

Meanwhile, over here in Family Newspaper-land, I once got a polite "ahem" from one of my editors for overusing the word "freaking." While part of me was ticked off that "freaking" is a fairly innocuous word, there was honestly no way around my editor's argument that "freaking" is just a nicer way of saying a different word that starts with the same letter. Sheesh, I just did it again! "Ticked off" is a nicer way of saying the "p"-word. Ack! And "Sheesh" is a nicer way of saying the "s"-word! I can't win!

It was Christmas night when I decided that I needed to scale back on the naughty words. I plugged myself into my Xbox Live for some violent pre-bed video gaming when it suddenly hit me.

I imagined little Timmy out there somewhere. Little Timmy lives a fairly conservative life, and I bet it took him a couple years to talk his parents into even buying him a borderline-violent video game. But Little Timmy had an Xbox under his tree this year, so he hooks it up and logs on to Xbox Live for the first time. Maybe the parents are sitting there, too, watching him play with a look of concern in their eyes. And Little Timmy logs onto some battle, and since he has no idea what he's doing, he promptly puts a bullet in his teammate's head.

Then I imagined what would happen if that teammate were me. I'd be the guy yelling into the headset, "What the $*#@, you #@^$ing @#%@! Way to shoot me, #$@^*#^!"

Little Timmy's new Xbox would be out the window, and Little Timmy's parents would probably be performing an exorcism on the TV by that point. And that's not cool. Swearing is nifty from time to time, but I suppose it's not so swell when the recipient of your abuse is an 8-year-old who's now learned some cool new words to impress his friends with at school.

I'll never stop swearing altogether. Let's face it, it makes life more fun. I'll never stop swearing at myself in the mornings when I'm running late for work. And there are some people out there (Iowa drivers, Tom Cruise, etc.) who deserve to be cursed at from time to time. It's just that now I'll try to do it UNDER my breath instead of over it. Either that, or I'll revert back to college.

One night, my old college roommate imbibed a few too many adult beverages, and he and I got into a gut-busting fight. We called each other every name in the book -- so much so, in fact, that at one point we ran out of curse words. What he meant to say is beyond understanding and buried in the sands of time. What came out, however, was this: "Oh YEAH? Well, you're just a ... a stupid. MOUTHHEAD." At which point we collapsed in laughter, forgot what we were fighting about, and let "mouthhead" become our new favorite insult word for years to come.

So if you're playing X-Box Live in the coming weeks, kick some other player's butt and hear yourself getting called a "mouthhead," go easy on me. I'm in recovery.

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