Stuck On Words

Boyleing Points
Typography

I’m no Whit’s End but I’ve dropped an F-bomb once or twice in my life. Sometimes in the same effin’ sentence. Note to all my lady friends in the Golden Age club: I know my mother is rolling her eyes in heaven and tsk, tsking. She’d say it’s not a sin to curse but I am “contributing to the coarsening of the language.” Coarsening. There’s a word you don’t get to use too effin’ often. Point is, ladies, you don’t have to tell me I should know better. I know, I know.  Of course, some of my granny friends love the salty talk and make me blush when they drop the words on me. 

I’m still trying to get over the little old lady who yelled from the sidewalk as I biked past:  Good f**kin column this week, Kevin!

I think she was on her way to church.

Coarsening or not, an F-bomb can be a very valuable form of communication. It’s about the best way to emphasize a point. But if you use it more than once, it starts to lose its strength, its shock value. If you use it more than three times, then people no longer care what you’re talking about; they just wait for the next bomb.

You could be talking about somebody being kidnapped and if you add too many Fs in there, the listeners will forget there’s been a kidnapping and they’ll be saying to themselves: this guy curses a lot. When he is gonna stop? Does he realize how he sounds?

I was reminded of the overuse of a word or phrase while getting a real estate tour down South  last weekend.

The agent had the habit of answering questions by saying, “To be honest with you” or “To tell you the truth.” Now, since I met this guy five minutes earlier, I was wondering why I had gained his trust. He was gonna be honest with me. Just me. Not the other guy. He was gonna tell me the truth.

When I asked how many bedrooms the place had, he started by saying, “To tell ya the truth.” At that point he could have said the place had 40 bedrooms but just one bath and I wouldn’t have heard.

I looked at my significant wife and a friend who had joined us for the tour. I gave them the look, like, you’re hearing what I’m hearing right? My friend is a bit of a wiseass so when she asked a question she began by saying, “John, tell me the truth.”  Or “John, be honest with me. What’s the square footage?”

The gibe went over his head, of course. But he did change gears a bit and started saying, “In my opinion,” to make a statement whether an opinion was warranted or not.

We were trying to pay attention to the updated cabinets in the kitchen but John said, “I don’t want to repeat myself” at which point he repeated himself.

I asked John if the windows were new, but I really wanted to know if I could jump out of them because I couldn’t take another “To be honest with you.”

Ten minutes after we left, I couldn’t remember the condo and cursed the whole way home.

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