Not Keeping It Clean

April 5, 2009

I won’t chide myself anymore for my swearing, which in my fifties has become more profane and repetitive when I’m alone and less frequent when around others.

That’s because an article in a scientific journal describes profanity as ubiquitous and a “natural part of speech development.” Guess I’m off the hook.

It’s little consolation. When I hear my unimaginative string of expletives, I don’t experience the catharsis the article points to. Instead, I feel as if a demon needing exorcism inhabits me.

Thinking about swearing, I hear in my head these lyrics from the Avett Brothers‘ “Tear Down the House,” so earnest in their public declaration to rise about base instincts:

Ever since I learned how to curse
I’ve been using those sorry old words
But, I’m talkin’ to these children
And I’m keeping it clean
I don’t need those words
To say what I mean
No, I don’t need those words
To say what I mean

When I hear them live next month in concert for the second time, I’ll curse aloud in high praise.