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Filed Under on May 26th, 2012

Selective Censor

By Seth Kabala

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a fan of selective strong language (and if you don’t know me, what’s your problem? Good stuff here).

Constant cursing and acerbic descriptors affect writing quality the same as water in your basement. If it stays in the water-heater, doing what it’s supposed to do, performing its duty in making the house function (no more outdoors shithouse? Check), you’re all good. If it leaks out the sump pump, if the sewer backs up, you could be literally up shit creek (trust me. Been there).

So it would seem to make sense that outside of writing, one should also strive to constrain one’s speech to those words most likely to drive the maximum impact, and if a “fuck” helps you do that, go for it. Just don’t waste these gems. They’re just as likely to get your ass kicked as win an argument, and the knowledge that you were right won’t mean a helluva lot when your face is making it to third-base with the sidewalk.

That’s my take on cursing. But my wife apparently thinks differently.

A few weekends ago, we traveled to Traer, IA for my cousin’s graduation party. After, we were getting ready to head back to Grandma JoJo’s, when Will, my six-year-old, started freaking out because he couldn’t get his door closed. As I often peel out of our driveway prior to all the doors being closed, doing my best to create human windsocks of my family, I could understand his consternation.

The pillow he’d brought along for the road trip was getting in the way, and try as he might, he couldn’t overpower that fluff (similar to a problem the majority of the US adult population has. What? I was talking about clothes that don’t fit. What did you think I was talking about?).

In rural small town America, when an eighteen-wheeler rolls through town, it obscures speech with the efficacy of jets on-board an aircraft carrier. All the buildings act like pinball bumpers, reverberating the sound, making you feel like your dentist really screwed up.

One came in for a landing during the pillow incident, so maybe I, my mom and my brother Trevor, both of whom were with us, were in the middle of the pinball effect, and maybe we heard Amy wrong, but I don’t think so. I think my wife needs a censor.

Despite admonitions that we couldn’t leave until he had closed the door, Will continued having no luck, so Amy said (so she said) tone exasperated, “Push it!”

To me, Mom, and Trevor, it sounded like she said, “Bullshit,” but she insisted this was incorrect. Traditional safe concurrence with the wife that keeps my sex life active aside, I put it to you, dear reader, to decide which response makes more sense.

The analysis:

Scenario 1.

Will was freaking out, doing his best impression of a possessed soul–slash–electrocution victim, saying he couldn’t get the seat-belt buckled, and in response to this bullshitigans, Amy responded as deserved–”Bullshit,” which obviously implies she disbelieved he couldn’t buckle the belt, and he should do anything necessary to accomplish buckling of said buckle, up to and including pushing the pillow out the way.

Egads. Look at all the space you can save with one curse!

Or.

Scenario 2.

Will was freaking out, acting as though he’d just received the life-altering news that, yes, he must finish dinner before dessert, was insisting he couldn’t buckle the seat-belt, and Amy suggested, with healthy vigor, that he push the pillow out of the way.

Given my wife’s propensity for avoiding curses like Kirstie Alley avoids the gym (unless a paycheck is sitting just inside the door, to the left of the lipo machine) (Seth’s Happy Time the notable exception), the logical answer is scenario two.

Yeeeah. And that option is so funny, right?

“Push it!”

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Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, and musician. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

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