Rocket’s Red Glare, F-Bombs Bursting in Air
Facebook followers now know: “Mason has a potty mouth.”
Uh, that was the recent message from a good friend and former two-decade colleague who took notice of the fact that I’ve been particularly expletive-filled in my social media posts of late.
Commendable observation, Mike. I hadn’t thought about it before you pointed that out, but it seems you’re right. I’ve developed a trash mouth, particularly when I sit down at the keyboard to clear my mind.
Know why this is? What could possibly have driven me to such a state that the only way I know to react these days is by dropping an F-bomb in front of whatever I’m sharing? Let’s consider the possibilities.
Do you think it’s the loss of my job? As background, I was jettisoned from my career as a sports reporter at Bloomberg News during a September 2015 newsroom reorganization. And indeed, almost a year later I’m just starting to find my own voice, breaking free from two decades of drone-like subservience to the Bloomberg Way.
Of course, this is by no means an indictment of that style of writing or those two decades. Working for Bloomberg provided me a tremendous education in the art of clear, concise, morally unambiguous journalism. However, the sharing of my own opinion wasn’t part my job description, so in many ways my growth as a writer, and probably even more so, as a creative thinker, was stunted. So, to a degree, having the freedom to write obscenely – even gratuitously so – is liberating. I have no plan to make a long-term habit of it, but it sure is nice to have the option to.
Neither Bloomberg nor the freedoms my departure created, however, are the real root of my recent vulgarity.
Any chance it’s because of Hamilton? Yes, I’m talking about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony-winning musical. No, I haven’t seen it yet. Yes, I am beyond excited to. And yes, my 9-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son have forced me to listen to the soundtrack so many times that I’m either going to challenge her to a duel or Rise Up and choke him, Homer v. Bart style.
Listening repeatedly to Hamilton’s 46 tracks has given my kids – and those of so many families I know – a great example of both awe-inspiring, somewhat educational creativity and also first-rate profanity. Initially, At first, I tried skipping over the songs that had explicit lyrics, but I was doing a disservice to the genius of Miranda and the goose bump-inducing voices of his cast in doing so, so I gave up.
“Don’t pay attention to the cursing,” is what my sister, a wiser parent than I, told my 10-year-old niece about Hamilton. “There’s nothing wrong with hearing curse words, just so long as you know that you shouldn’t use them yourself.” Solid advice.
Pardon My French, Lafayette
That’s not it, though. I can’t blame the infectiousness of Hamilton for my own filthiness. That’s just silly, even if the show has legitimately loosened my view of how I should be parenting my kids over the issue of naughty words.
Right. I think we all know where this post is heading. It’s where just about every social media post heads these days, to him…the guy I’m not with.
Understanding what’s mostly at play with my trash mouth comes down to recognizing my sheer disbelief that a possible sociopath, dozens of spineless politicians and just about half-a-country’s worth of ignorant bootlickers can band together to possibly imperil our country the way it has. I’ll admit, I don’t even think I gave sufficient enough serious thought before to the greatness of America, and to freedom, and to safety, and to peace until this election period got under way. And now, with my eyes officially wide open and my vocabulary armed with awesome new words like “demagogue,” and “fabulist,” and even “grawlix,” I still feel the need to punctuate my thoughts with legitimate profanity. That’s what he’s done to me. How about you?
Mike, by the way, saw an early draft of this post and responded by reminding me of the old saying: “Curse words are for those who lack the intelligence to otherwise express themselves.” Then, in an admission that his thinking might be a touch outdated, he added: “Now get off my lawn!”
Perhaps it's time I grow up and be like Mike.
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