I’m talking about the “F” word. If you are a native English speaker, you know the one that I mean. Usually you do not see it spelled out but instead with asterisks (*) in place of letters. Some people try to get real cute and put various symbols that have a vague resemblance to the letters that they are replacing.
I think that people who use this word in their speech or in their writing believe that it demonstrates that they are tough and that you had better not mess with them. At least that has been my observation. I interpret it differently, however. To me is seems that they are unsure of themselves and they are compensating for their timidity by what they think makes them appear strong and independent. They are little children peaking out from behind their mothers and trying to act brave. Whatever the true reason, using this kind of speech ends up making life less enjoyable, as if we are being constantly challenged even in our everyday conversations.
Many years ago I happened to see on TV a portion of an interview with a movie producer or director or someone involved with the movie industry. The subject of the interview was “free speech and censorship.” As you can imagine, the movie producer was against all forms of censorship, and said that he should be allowed to have any kind of image and speech that he thought made his work more “cutting edge.”
Oddly enough, the specifics of the interview came down to the “F” word, which was, at the time, not allowed in movie scripts. The movie producer said that it was his goal to see this word used in his movies, and this would be an indication of the loosening of censorship standards.
This to me seemed a very strange and distasteful goal. As I listened to him talk, I wondered if he would like that as an epitaph on his headstone. "Here lies movie producer so and so. He achieved his life’s goal of having the “F” word used in movies." A lofty achievement, wouldn’t you say?
Last night I had a dream in which I was looking for an envelope. With the new year of 2013, I needed a new envelope to keep the receipts and other papers that we were beginning to accumulate in our household already this year. In my dream, some of these papers were correspondence that I thought that I should keep. Several of these letters contained the "F" word in the correspondence, or other words that we consider swear words. Now, I want to be clear that in real life, we do not receive letters that are full of vulgarities from people, but in my dream, some of these were.
I found an envelope in the back of our filing cabinet that I thought would work well for keeping letters for the new year. In that envelope I put the letters that had come so far in this month. When I pulled one of them back out to read it again, I discovered that all of the “F” words and other vulgarities had disappeared! I pulled out more! On every letter, all of the swearing had disappeared!
One of the things that struck me in my dream was that nothing else had changed in the letters. The sentences were not re-written to accommodate the loss of some words. On the contrary, with the removal of these words, the sentence structure and syntax had actually improved! The vulgarities had served no purpose whatsoever in the sentences. As I re-read one of the letters, it was amazing to me how much more clearly the meaning and the intent of the letter came out.
That was my strange dream, but a rather nice one. It just made life much more enjoyable! Hopefully, tonight I will dream about a magic hearing aid!
“Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil” (Words of Jesus Christ)