The Scarlet Letter

19 Feb


In Scrabble, the letter “F” merits a respectable four points. There are only two “F” tiles in the game set, which makes the number of words you can form with the letter “F” relatively limited.

In the real world, the “F” word is everywhere.

In the evolution of the English language, when did “Oh, darn!” become  “Oh, Fu#!” What happened to “friggin?” When did “fudge” deteriorate into “Fu#!”?

When did “take the F train” become “take the ‘Fu#!-ing’ train?”

When did dropping the F-bomb so casually become the status quo?

“F” used to convey a meaning of failure.  A rude, red “F” on a spelling quiz or a math exam would elicit disappointment, or at the least – some extra homework.  Now, “F” means “Fantastic! Fabulous! Good effort! You’re gifted.“

Thank you, Adam Mansbach for your mega bestseller, “Go The F**k To Sleep.”

I’m writing a new book entitled “Stop hurling the “F” word every five seconds because you’re coarsening the language and culture. Plus it’s lazy and boring!”

At some point, talking like a truck driver became cooler than driving a truck.  But like carbon emissions, sulfur dioxide, and lead, “F” contributes to air pollution.

We expect a liberal use of the “F” word from sailors, soldiers, pimps, graffiti artists, New Jersey housewives, Vice Presidents, and F-list stand-up comics, but not from role models or mommy bloggers.

Overheard at the dinner table:

Ten year old daughter:  “Mommy uses the “F” word on her blog!”

Hubs (to Mom):  “You do?”

Mom:  “No, of course not. Well, sometimes, but -”

Daughter:  “You shouldn’t say ‘butt’ either.”

Mom:  “Sweetheart, I’m a writer. I have poetic license.”

Daughter:  “I saw the “F” word twice on your last post.”

Hubs:  “Great. I hope my parents don’t read your blog.”

Daughter:  “And she says it on Twitter ALL the time!”

Hubs:  “Geez…”

Mom:  “Well, you know, everyone else does it…”

Daughter:  “In CAPS. On Twitter. That’s like yelling it.”

Mom:  “It’s for dramatic effect.  I’m using the vernacular. Look it up, honey.”

Daughter:  “In the dictionary?”

Mom:  “Just Google it. V-E-R-”

Daughter:  “Never mind, Mommy. Fu#!” it!”


What do you think?

21 Responses to “The Scarlet Letter”

  1. theuglymoose February 19, 2012 at 10:27 am #

    Fantabulous post.

    • BARB BEST February 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

      “Fantabulous” – there’s an “F” word I can love!

      • ditchthebun February 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

        Someone else that uses ‘fantabulous’! How fantastic a word that is!

  2. injaynesworld February 19, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    I’m afraid I’m an offender. I don’t even think about it anymore. It’s not like I have to slam my toe into bedpost. It can be a f*^king great day and still … Well, there. You see? I restrict its use on my blog though. I don’t want to dilute its ability for emphasize through overuse. I am good about not using it around young children, most of the time, and have never used it in the presence of clergy. That’s got to count for something. I will concede that you make some very good points here. I’ll try to do better… Nah. F*^k it. 😉

  3. molly campbell February 19, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    I absolutely agree, and it’s terrible, but I use the “F” word now, too. It IS everwhere. But on the flip side, maybe having no more “verboten” words is kind of freeing. But I never have said the “c” word out loud. I hope that one stays in the closet, where it belongs. xo

  4. Main Street Musings Blog February 20, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    I still remember when crap was a bad word!

  5. ditchthebun February 20, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

    “F” is a widely accepted word here in Oz now, more so with the younger generation. I was horrified when my mother told me that high school kids at a recent swimming carnival were not told off for screaming, “F-ing go!” to their mates during races.
    There are some ‘swear’ words that are more offensive here than in America and vice versa, for example, ‘fanny’ refers to something a little closer to the front of the body in Oz and the 6 letter ‘B’ word with 2 g’s in the middle means darn or blast here. I wont spell the second one out because I was once reported for profanity for using it in an American chatroom.
    I do like the letter ‘F’, but for no reason related to the F-bomb. You can ‘fly’ to a fun-tastic faraway tropical frangipani lined resort, whilst there you can utilise the fantabulous facilities, there are facials available, but other faculties provide activities not for the faint-hearted. If it takes your fancy and the weather is fair go fishing and learn fun factoids from a fetching local guide or face your fears with a firewalking experience. – Seriously how fun are ‘F’s’?!

    • BARB BEST February 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

      Hey there Ditchthebun! Fascinating feelings on “F’s!”

  6. Mom Meets Blog February 21, 2012 at 9:42 am #

    So f*****n’ true! (Sorry). But it has crept into everyday language; I still can’t use the word around my mom, but my 10 year old is dancing around it as fast as he can (friggin’, fricking’, you get the idea). Sigh.

    • BARB BEST February 24, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

      Ha! It’s much more clever to dance around it.

  7. George February 24, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

    Funny! Reminds me of something I read a couple of years ago…perhaps the most frequent use of the f word ever in one humor column:

    I wouldn’t have the nerve to cover the subject myself. 🙂

    • BARB BEST February 24, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

      Thanks for the link, George. Gordan Kirkland is a very funny writer!

  8. Dawn@LightenUp! February 25, 2012 at 5:03 am #

    I used my first F bomb on my blog a couple of weeks ago. It involved my sewing machine and Pinterest, and both those effers deserved it. Haha.

    I have heard the theory that mommy bloggers shouldn’t cuss, that it’s coarse and whatnot, but I disagree. I cuss (not the F word so much) but I cuss and that is who I am. Some bloggers don’t/won’t cuss, and that’s great! But humor should reflect who each individual person is – it has to be real to be funny. 🙂

    • BARB BEST February 25, 2012 at 8:54 am #

      Great points! I agree, it’s totally about authenticity, creative choices. On Twitter, it’s more in your face ’cause it’s more like talking… even though it’s writing. Interesting! BTW your posts at DawnLightenUp! are effing funny!

  9. Katherine O. Cooper February 27, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

    Agreed. I’m no prude when it comes to language, nor the sentiment of the book title (was there just last night)…but, come on folks…glad to have found your blog.

    • BARB BEST February 27, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

      Thanks, Katherine. And welcome!

      • Katherine O. Cooper February 28, 2012 at 7:59 am #

        Thanks…was cruising info re: the UD Bombeck workshop..looks like I’m too late for this year. Something fun to plan ahead for I guess.

      • BARB BEST March 1, 2012 at 8:08 am #

        Katherine, I highly recommend it! There may be a waiting list. Also, check out the humor writers group on Yahoo.

      • Katherine O. Cooper March 1, 2012 at 9:37 am #

        Will do. I don’t think of myself as a humor writer, but those who like my posts tend to say that they are funny. I was a grad student at UD and my son is there, so two Springs from now is not a long distance. I couldn’t find anything about the cost. Take care and thanks.

  10. Mayor Gia February 27, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

    Hahah thank goodness I’m not a mommy blogger (well, not a mommy). I can drop f bombs as often as I’d like! 😛

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