My Strange Relationship with Profanity

I don’t think that statement is true, the one that says that The sins of the fathers shall be visited upon the sons. The sons and children pay more for the father’s fears and years of trauma bottle away in the recesses of their psyche. One of my parents was raised in an orphanage I guess is the closest term for it, and the other had to watch an older brother get gunned down in front of him and die because his family didnt have to money to bribe the ambulance driver. Also having to watch their mother die 3 years later  and homelessness can really mess with someone’s head.

When my parents came to NYC in the 70’s it was really violent gangs drugs, crazy cops. As a result to put it mildly I was very sheltered as a child. I never heard cursing or profanity much until I got a scholarship to a prep school that was predominantly Italian American and Irish. I heard things I would have never imagined.  I dont think I really understood english until I heard all this crap which was only a taste to what I heard in college.


Each Languages is a way of viewing the world. To really understand a culture though one has to go to the heart of slang and cursing or the literature (poetry), that’s the area where the language is most fluid and dynamic. I used to go to run errands with my parents and I found that many people like to hide behind words they like to use vocabulary to cover the tracks of what they really feel. However when someone says in the middle of a meeting, “What a fucking bore” or while on the job “Man I really got to take a  diesel shit” everyone knows what that means, it’s clear and sincere.

The Beauty of Cursing at Home

When home life is incomprehensibly  difficult oppressive one always finds ways to cope. For me sarcastic comments kind of channeled the overall numbness which maybe is one reason why I could really appreciate Bukowski. Around this time it had been some time since my parents figured out that corporeal punishment didn’t work any more on me. So I let loose some pretty horribly creative stuff, of course my sister got in on the jokes too, and she became the most foul mouthed women one can ever meet. To give you an example, I was dating this girl once and my lil sis said out of the blue: – (This is a real conversation I have changed nothing)

Sister: hey Dbo (one of my many nick names)
MrMary: Yeah pig (what me and my sister call each other) wassup
Sister: Did you pork the ho yet,
MrMary: No,
Sister: What are you waiting for? You a faggot?
MrMary: Shut the fuck up before I rip that weave outcha head
Sister: You Shut up
<laughter…brief Pause>
Sister: She looks like she sucks cock like souvlaki (She actually said this)
MrMary: Holy shit that’s funny lol she does have a big nose, may not have to surface for a bit
(Parents screaming)
Pops: Jesus!!! That’s not fair you are a lady, you cannot talk like this
especially around us… You need to go to church and pray or to school to learn some manners
MrMary: Hey, Pig don’t go to church, all that kneeling sends a wrong message, why not just lay down in the pew with your legs open.
Pops: mutters incomprehensibly about how he didn’t come to this country to raise “vagabonds” – much harsher term in Kreyol.
(Sister imitating his voice)
Mom: MrMary, look what you did to your sister, A woman can’t talk like this you guys are nasty..back home we couldn’t talk to adults like that , you know…(tuned the rest out)
MrMary: Sorry Momz, New World Rules apply here though

Now that we are all older my parents still get annoyed but they giggle and sometimes my mom jokes along when the jokes are a bit tame.


I had a blog many years ago where I just told things straight and honestly. Needless to say that blog totally failed. I realized early on that one has to write like a magician, in the sense of drawing the audience’s attention to one thing while insinuation a few things other things. Basically in creating so many layers of meaning one can make sure the audience laughs and is entertained, one can say something real, and one can if one is clever and has the skill one can even in giving a lot of information say nothing. Words and meanings, the very vehicles used to convey meaning can be use to obfuscate meaning sort like something out of Jorge Luis Borges.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s