There, I said it. Or wrote it, I guess.
Now you say it out loud. Right now, go ahead.
Fuck. That’s it.
Sometimes, you just have to. I know my high school English teacher Mrs. Nelson is rolling over in her grave right now (unless she’s still alive, in which case, sorry Mrs. Nelson!) and screeching from beyond the grave (I think), “Profanity is the last resort of an ignorant person!”
To which I shall respond: “The fuck you say.”
The reason I’m tossing the F-word around like fucking candy along a parade route is because of a conversation I had tonight with my soon-to-be-teenaged son, Alex. Today was the second day of school and Alex had a rough one. A little melt down, not really uncommon for him, but still as frustrating as the first time it happened.
Alex struggles with some issues, Asperger’s syndrome and ADHD mainly. He is an intelligent kid and capable of much, but anyone familiar with these conditions will understand what daily life is like for him and us. Now throw in the culture of the 7th grade and the looming onset of puberty, and well, that’s quite a hormonal psychological stew he’s burdened with. He gets teased and was bullied pretty badly the last two years. The older he and his peers get, the harder school is for him.
So I pulled Alex aside today to talk. At first, it sort of started out as a lecture, which was not what I wanted. Eventually, I told him that he and I were in an off-limits zone where he could say anything he wanted to vent and get stuff off his chest. Better to release it than keep it bottled up. He hesitated and looked at me sideways. “Can I say anything I want?”
At first, I said, “No profanity. I don’t want to hear it from you.” Yeah, I’m a hypocrite.
“OK, never mind then,” he said and got up to leave.
I stopped him and said, “OK, fine. Just say whatever you need to say to get it out.”
He hesitated again, stammered a bit, then let fly. “Those motherfucking kids on the goddamn bus…” He went on, throwing a couple more bombs in among some more amusing and almost quaint sounding phrases. He gave me a couple more sideways looks, like he was waiting for the stop sign to come up, but I let him finish. And then I talked about stupid people I have to deal with, to this day, and the fact that you won’t ever avoid them completely. That it’s how you deal with them and not let them affect you. It was a good talk, possibly the first real talk he and I have had.
I try not to cuss just to cuss. But sometimes, you just have to shout a fuck about something, or at someone, or up into the sky. There’s a cathartic release in saying that word aloud. Am I proud that my 12.5-year old son is so well versed in the art of profanity? No. But if I remember correctly, I was too at this age, perhaps even more so. We agreed that our one-on-one sessions were the only appropriate time and place for future utterances of that potty word. And in the end, I’m glad we got that out there. It’s not some cloud hanging over him, and I hope he feels he can speak to me again in the future, about whatever may be troubling him, without feeling he needs to hold back.
All that bonding, thanks to the word ‘fuck’.
Sometimes, you just have to say it.