(If a profane comeback flitted across your synapses just now, you are only human. And a smart-aleck. If you refrained from vocalizing it, there's hope for you yet.)
Anyway, RT's post got me thinking -- the coarse language that the young people use today -- my own children, for example -- and not just in conversation when they think no elders are about -- often in writing in their IM's. These can be printed out and exhibited against them whenever a participant in an IM conversation wants to. It can get very ugly very fast.
So, yes, I was wrapping the cloak of self-righteousness firmly about me -- how I'd never used such language when I was young, etc., etc.... and then I began to remember....
(Yes, that's taking us into a flashback....)
My poor father was teaching me to drive. I had driver's ed in school, but the cars there had automatic transmissions; the car I would be permitted to drive (on rare occasions) had a clutch -- a three-on-the-tree transmission. And, besides, the driver's ed teachers -- if there were both boys and girls assigned to the same car -- well, let's just say this was the era of miniskirts and the instructors felt it was necessary to keep the girls in the front seat practicing for as long as possible. And, when I say they felt it was necessary, I mean they felt....
Hmmmmmm. How to explain, delicately? Well, Long Suffering Spouse -- who attended an entirely different high school from me and a number of years later -- said that the smarter girls quickly figured out it was best to wear pants for driver's ed.
If that doesn't help, ask your mom.
Anyway, my father felt I needed the practice, and I did. Fortunately, we lived way out in the sticks so there were plenty of places where I could learn to stop, going uphill at a stop sign, and start up again without rolling back into anyone else's bumper.
My father claimed that both I and my sister burned out a clutch in the course of our driver training.
But in addition to rolling backwards, and stalling out the car by popping the clutch too quickly without applying the gas, my father decided I should learn how to enter a limited access highway.
My father was no fool.
He wasn't going to take me on a City expressway; that would be too far away anyway.
But there was one cloverleaf in the vicinity going from a two lane State highway to a four lane Federal route -- and it was to this location that my father directed me one morning.
I barreled down the ramp without any difficulty (going fast is really not a problem for teenage boys, is it?) but there was, I noticed, a car already on the highway below, matching course and speed as I prepared to merge.
Indeed, for a moment it looked as if I was about to merge right into him.
At that moment, forgetting entirely who was sitting beside me, I let loose with a string of invective that would do any modern teenager proud. I'm sure it wouldn't have brought the slightest blush to a career noncom, but it was blue enough.
And, as I slowed in time to safely merge behind the car that had been blocking my entrance onto the highway, I remembered that my father was in fact present.
I snuck a glance his way.
He was regarding me, as I have since learned fathers often do, with a calculating look, trying to decide how best to respond in the circumstances.
You have to understand that my father was not one of those Ward Cleaver types. He could go from calm to furious in a nanosecond and he had the kind of booming voice that could focus entirely on the object of his anger. On the other hand, since I was driving, I did sort of have both our lives in my hands....
I braced for the verbal impact -- which I knew I deserved. But my father only said, "I didn't know you knew all those words." He paused, thinking, I presume, that he should add something else. What should he say, though? Sternly admonish me against any further uncontrolled bursts of Anglo-Saxon epithets? "You did use all the words correctly," he said.
And that was that.
So I guess maybe I can't get too smug about my own non-use of profanity in my younger days....