Why have we given people’s offense of the F-word so much power? You can’t say it in school, on the radio, at work. Why not?
We’ve all heard the word. It sits amongst a few friends on a mossy toad stool in our minds, knees propped up, waiting to hop down from it and spew from our lips. Teeth touch the bottom lip, then the air hits, then the voice box joins in to finish the word with a hard, loud K-sound.
I say the word, but for the past few years I’ve refrained from using it unless absolutely necessary. I made that conscious decision simply because it’s lazy, not offensive. A good kick with my bare painted toes on the top stair, though, brings it out.
It seems to me that the people who don’t want the word to exist in a public forum are the same who call people “offended” by certain terms and phrases that are truly derogatory. Others are afraid a child will hear it.
When I was little, as soon as I left my driveway on my blue, three-speed bike to ride around the neighborhood with my friends, the word became ready in my mouth, sitting restlessly behind my back molars, waiting.
My boys are free to say the word. I mean, it’s silly to imagine them being forbidden from speaking freely. They’ve never aimed swears at me. They understand and respect the social construct of quote-unquote profanity. It has no power if it has no audience. It’s always been silly more than vulgar.
It doesn’t aim its offense at anyone in particular. It’s literal meaning is a positive action, so I suppose its sharpness will always baffle me. In a country that boasts free speech, to limit the use of four-letter word with no audience to be harmed doesn’t make the most sense.