I didn’t always curse up a storm. As I reported, when I first told my parents to “got to hell,” I got my mouth soaped up. That’s a pretty literalistic way of telling a kid not to develop a dirty mouth, but it worked for me for a good while. Except “fool,” one day I called somebody a “fool” and the old lady snapped at me and said I shouldn’t call anybody a fool because it says in the Bible if you call one of your brethren a “fool” you will go to hell. I hadn’t heard that one so I said where was it in the Bible which was a mistake since she accused me of talking back, being insolent and so forth. So I went to look it up myself, but with no luck since as you may have noted many Bibles don’t have an index.
But it’s there all right:
But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca, ‘ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
That’s from Matthew and I have no idea what that “Raca” is.
For a long time, I didn’t curse and was pretty proud of myself too. But one day maybe I was in the fifth or sixth grade, I remember the occasion pretty clearly, I was up at the elementary school sitting in the cool of the shade and watching other little boys my age playing a game of touch football and cursing up a storm. It was goddamn this and goddamn that! And fuck you! And up yours! Asshole! And go fuck yourself!
And I remember thinking I wasn’t like those bad little boys since I didn’t use dirty words but, cursed as I am with introspection, I really didn’t like the idea that I was so prim and proper and a regular goody two-shoes. And I went on like that inside for a while between being a good little boy and being a regular goody two shoes, and after going on at this inward struggle for a bit, I just said fuck it. I guess you could say I just gave into peer pressure, but if I did, I did it thoughtfully and not without agnoizing over it.
Not that I went on some sort of cursing rampage. No, what I had decided was that cursing didn’t make a person bad. But after a while I accustomed myself to fuck this and fuck that, and my father, when it came to cursing, was a pretty good role model since he cursed all the fucking time, most especially, he liked to say goddamnmotherfuckingsonofabitch. He also liked to say, well kiss my rusty red bunny. Which was his socially acceptable way of saying kiss my ass, though what that has to do with a bunny, and a rusty red one at that, I don’t know. He also liked to go bleed his whistle which meant take a leak or piss.
So I had a pretty good source of off color pungency right in the house and I didn’t have to go far in my neighorhood to meet kids who used fuck like a punctuation mark, as in, “Fuck me, but I am so fucking tired I fucked up and didn’t fucking bring that fucking essay. But who the fuck cares. I certainly fucking don’t.”
And of course the biggest fucking foul mouth of all was this guy on the basketball team whose father was a minister.