I’m giving up swearing for the month of October. I know, it’s not even Lent.
A former coworker named Michael once said, “Profanity is the refuge of the inarticulate.” He was referring to a ranting customer, but the quote has stuck with me through the ensuing thirteen years. I’m a writer, and I spend inordinate amounts of time trying to find just the right word or turn of phrase. Anyone who knows me knows I am a word nerd. I admire people who are well-spoken. I sometimes mock those who use “like” all the time. For example, “You know, it’s like we went like to the the store and it was like so crowded.” I had a boss who spoke this way, and it made her seem young and hesitant.
Could others react to my swearing the way I react to their likes? Does my frequent f-bomb dropping irritate people or make them tune me out? Can I stop? (To clarify, I do have a filter, thanks to many public-facing jobs. Nobody wants a teacher or fundraiser swearing at her audience.) October is an experiment to find out.
When do I fail in my experiment? While driving! I swear at crazy motorists around me, but with the windows up nobody hears (it’s just like a tree falling in the forest). I swear when I drop things, and I’m a klutz. But only once since I started have I sworn in conversation. I might start keeping score. Yesterday, -5. Today, zero.