What the *%$# are You Saying?

Now that I’ve got your attention…

Saturday I was at an athletic tournament where the teams were made up of men who were mostly in their mid-20’s. Young and handsome, they looked like all-American boys any girl would be proud to bring home to mom and dad. Until they started speaking. Oh, my, the epithets that flew out of their mouths! And I can not tell you how many conversations I over heard about strippers and their, um, assets. This wasn’t locker room bonding or smack talking during the game. It was very public conversation, with in ear shot of women and children, in the concourse.

One young man who apparently forgot some of his gear at home, approached the middle-aged woman registering the teams and used a very offensive term to ask her if she had an extra cup or jock strap that he could borrow. What?! Was he serious? Why would she have that kind of equipment, and did he really think his foul words were appropriate? What he needed was a pair of compression shorts for his tongue. Un-phased, and with out even looking up from her paperwork, she deadpanned, “No, I forgot mine at home today.”

Before you go thinking I’m some kind of Pollyanna, I’ve heard my share of curse words over the years. I once worked in an office with a boss who was a master at finding new and innovative uses for vulgarities in the English language. He elevated it to an art form really. With a smile and the right phrasing, he could turn an off-color word into a beautiful compliment. He could also humble an out-of-line employee like nobody’s business with his filthy mouth. And by placing just the right emphasis on a particular word, he would crack up the whole sales department, even the most prudish among us. Offended or not, you couldn’t help but admire his vernacular savvy. But even he tamed his words in public. Never did I hear him speak like that in front of customers or out at business meetings or conferences.

I’m not shocked that young men would visit a strip club. Like I don’t know that goes on. I certainly don’t approve of it or condone it. I defiantly don’t want to hear about it. And I really don’t want my child, or anyone else’s, to hear about it.

Now ashamed as I am to admit this, I have myself uttered a curse word or two on occasion. But I try very hard not to use words like that. Even silently in my mind. Yes, in part because of my Christian values, but also because it’s uncouth and unnecessary. There are thousands of words in the English language with which to express yourself with out being vulgar.

This wasn’t the first time, when about and about, I’ve heard things I didn’t want to. Over the last two or three years it’s become increasingly common to hear inappropriate language and conversations in public settings. Both men and women are guilty. I’ve heard it standing in line at the bank, in the crowded mall elevator and, yes, even at church. What happened to good manners and common courtesy and putting your best foot forward in public?

Those guys at the athletic tournament may be intelligent, successful, upstanding citizens, but their words certainly didn’t show it. Use a little self-control, and have some restraint in public. It sounds bad, and makes you look bad. You never know who’s listening.

Please save your curse words and stories of untoward escapades for more private settings. And never, ever ask a 50 year-old-woman for a jock strap, unless she does your laundry.

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