When my first child was born, I resolved to clean up my language. I was pretty successful for a long time. Lately, though, the Revere talk is reasserting itself.
I probably wouldn’t even notice the increasingly filthy mouth if not for the curse jar Erin put out. Whenever someone uses a curse word, they have to put 25 cents in the jar. The kids were delighted last week when Erin herself said something requiring her to cough up a quarter.
“Give me a hint on what Mom said,” I told the kids on my arrival home.
Duncan spelled it out: “D-A-M-M-I-T.”
Sean corrected him: “You forgot to add the ‘N’ stupid.”
I wish I could report that the worst thing to come out of my mouth is that word. I tend to veer toward words starting in “F” and “S” — and while I haven’t realized I said it at the time, the kids point out that they’ve heard me use the “S” word more than once.
Then there’s the cursing that involves using the Lord’s name in vain. I do that more than I should, and Sean is quick to call me out on it.
“Stop using the Lord’s name in vain,” he sneered at me one day, barely looking up from his video game.
Great. Even when he’s distracted by video screens he can hear me.
How much have I put in the curse jar? Nothing yet. But my tab is probably up to about eight quarters by now.
I’m not going to give you a tale of the past to explain my use of profanity. I can tell you it’s because I came from Revere, but I’ve found that language isn’t always about where you come from. Sometimes, it’s the emotions. In my case, a quick temper and a history of anger.
I’m a more peaceful person than I used to be. I’m certainly a very grateful person. I think in this case I’m swearing more simply out of fatigue. Going back and forth to see my father in rehab after a day of work, an hour-plus commute that almost always involves heavy traffic, is probably wearing down my discipline.
I refuse to give in to my addictions, so I do the swearing instead.
If it helps, it helps. But doing it in front of the kids is probably a bad idea.
I know that one of these days, one of them will get in trouble for cursing in school. They will inevitably be asked where they heard the word in the first place and they won’t hesitate to throw me under the bus.
They’ve seen “A Christmas Story” and have opined that Ralphie was stupid not to sell his old man out for using the “F” world all the time.
This is just one more thing I have to work on. But I guess it’s better than having nothing to do.
After all, boredom leads to swearing, too.