Monday, March 02, 2009

Working Blue

This is the city. This is the county. This is the week. Los Angeles County is scheduled to issue a proclamation by Supervisor Michael Antonovich making the first week in March No Cussing Week. To them I say, "Good Luck."
Already I can see that a good many of you have already taken the liberty of inserting an adjective between those last two words. Believe me, I understand. There is so very little in our society today that keeps us from popping in an expletive every now and then for flavor. It has become part of our American discourse. That's why fifteen-year-old McKay Hatch of South Pasadena has taken the charter of his high school's No Cussing Club to a bigger forum. It's about civility, after all.
No citations will be issued, "But it's a good reminder for all of us, not just young people but everybody, to be respectful to one another and watch the words we use," said the supervisor's spokesman, Tony Bell. I know what he's talking about. I became a parent and a teacher within a four month span, and my word to curse ratio dropped to almost zero overnight. It takes a certain amount of vigilance, and there are certain moments and experiences that seem to elicit more opportunities for foul language.
Football season is a tough one. I confess that, now that my son is in middle school and has heard more colorful language from his peers, that I will occasionally pop off under stress. He has even used the "d-word" and the "a-word" a few times himself, though he has asked our permission first.
And this is not because we live in a cuss-free zone. To the contrary. We don't censor our media, and I have been known to drop an "f-bomb" here and there just for effect. That's not the big picture, however. I have learned over the years to hold on to those words because of their unique power. Use them sparingly and they will be much more vital and potent when the time comes. That time will have to wait a week in Los Angeles, where everyone will have to be on their best behavior. In the meantime, McKay says "Next year I want to try to get California to have a cuss-free week. And then, who knows, maybe worldwide." Makes you wonder how that would play in Jersey.


Anonymous said...

What's with the Jersey comment?

Anonymous said...

WTF is the point of a no-cussing club?