Note: I received permission from Bob Hoffman (aka The Ad Contrarian) to totally ripoff his blog. By the way, if you have any interest in marketing or advertising, I highly recommend you add Bob's blog to your RSS feed.
WHY I TALK DIRTY (a variation on a theme first presented by Bob Hoffman, The Ad Contrarian)
One of the questions I get often is why I use naughty words so often when there are plenty of perfectly good polite ones that will do the job. The question used to come from embarrassed (and worried) colleagues. In my career it has produced a few unsolicited visits from Human Resources. On more than one occasion I have severely embarrassed my lovely (and very presentable) spouse and she still asks "why?".
People tell me that dropping f-bombs and other 4-letter words on the blog and in casual conversation costs me credibility. That may be true. But I do it anyway. In fact, in one of my first presentations (new job, new company, new position) to my entire staff, I summarized our immediate mission as "getting shit done", which I abbreviated to "GSD". This prompted and enabled the question of "are you GSD today?"
Here's why I continue to use such language.
First, dirty words are not a big deal to me. Having grown up in Chicago, with most of my family from New York, many sentences were typically punctuated by the inclusion of a colorful phrase . I started it in high school (well, at least I know I was an active participant in the use of four letter words in high school, it probably started in grade school). It's how I learned to think and how I talk (even to myself) and I don't see why I should change it when I write. It may not be pretty, but it's the real me.
Second, I think it's a healthy contrast to all the mealy-mouth bullshit being perpetrated by the increasingly corporatized, sanitized, politically correct business and "real" world today. I don't mind being wrong but I do mind being timid. Naughty words have a use -- they remove any hint of ambiguity.
Third, one of the great things about being an old fart and being retired is that I don't really give a shit what people think. If people don't like my language, I'm not going to worry about it. It's not that I'm trying to intentionally antagonize or irritate anyone, but I'm also not going to pretend I'm something I'm not to please anyone. It's one of the very few upsides of senile dementia.
Fourth, I like to get your attention. One of the ways to do that is to use language in a way and in the setting that you do not expect. Don't like that, I don't fucking give a shit. Now I have your attention....and that I do give a shit about.
I do wish I had my father's uncanny ability to turn a phrase. Where I call someone a shithead, Dad refers to them as a fecal smear. My invective of asshole is his feculent speck or better yet, a syphilitic pimple.
The good thing is, I am not too old to learn. And I love to practice.