Friday, June 17, 2011

Expletive Deleted

As you may have noticed, I don't swear on here. I'm not exactly sure why, I just don't.

But there is an awful lot of that sort of thing going on at work. From both sides of the door.

Here I use words like 'snap' and 'frack' and 'efargulate' and other nonsense that I make up as I go along. I guess I don't really want to offend anybody who might be reading this.

In the Academy they teach us "If it feels good, don't say it." and "Don't sink to their level" and that using profanity is "unprofessional". And those statements are for the most part, true.

But sometimes you have to get under their skins just a little and rock them back on their heels to get them to calm down and behave themselves. There are times when being calm and cool and professional just doesn't cut it. In order to gain control of a situation sometimes you have to get in their face and shout "Shut the frack up and sit the frack down, snaphole!" And they will drop back in their seat, stunned. And once you have their attention you can go back to being professional.

And alot of these punks don't seem to realize that I have been doing this for awhile and anything that comes out of their mouth holds very little shock value for me. And they quickly learn that anything they say I have already heard and already have a snappy comeback for.

While I was doing my Del Norte walk this evening a couple of the knuckleheads started shouting obscenities at me out of the Hive windows. Ignoring them at first, I finally raised a hand and showed them the universal sign that they were #1 in my book.

They seemed to take umbrage at that and one of them made an unverifiable allusion to my sexual preference. I raised my hand again and replied "Go BLEEP a BLEEP, boy!"

This seemed to make him angry and he said "You can't talk to me like that!"

I repeated my gesture and my statement.

He said "I'll file paperwork on you, BLEEP! What's your name?"

And all he heard back was laughter as I walked on down the fence line.

I know it wasn't professional. But then I knew if he wasn't locked in a cell he wouldn't have the balls to talk to me like that to my face out on the yard. And false bravado is a refuge of the coward.

Later on in the evening I had to deliver something down to the Hive. On the way out somebody shouted out their window. I turned slightly and he asked me (how do I put this delicately?) to inquire as to the dimensions of one of his body parts.

I just waved a hand and replied "I don't have time for small talk!" and walked away. Someone in another wing thought that was pretty hilarious and was still laughing as I left. And the one who asked me the original question suddenly had nothing more to say.

So that time being professional worked just fine.

It's a fine line, sometimes. You have to know where and when to cross it and who with.

Friday (Yayy... Friday!) will be Watergate Day and Eat Your Vegetables Day. Pfui. How many of you remember Watergate? It will also be Dump The Pump (?) Day and the National Day of Prayer For Law Enforcement Officers. We need all the help we can get, sometimes.


  1. "No time for small talk!" is excellent. I'm an absolute fan of your carefully-chosen euphemisms, for they are comical in their own right, but more importantly show respect, for a reader or listener. Respect is one of those things that seems to have become endangered these days, which is odd because it's not a natural resource which is running out. There is an infinite supply available, if we only choose to mine it from the depths of our own being, and use it.

    One of my favourite books is Such is Life by Joseph Furphy, who spent time as a cattle-drover in nineteenth-century outback Australia. His dialogue is evocative but decent, e.g. a drover referring to his mare: "What the (quadruple expletive)'s the matter with her?" In one of my favourite passages, the narrator has lost all his clothes whilst crossing a river. He hides till nightfall and when he sees a handsome young man come down the road on horseback, he jumps out from the shadows and commands, "I want your --!" with the implication that he cannot write the word "trousers" in case a lady is reading the book, and would find the term indelicate. He gets the man off the horse and struggles to remove his breeches. What the narrator doesn't realise, though there are enough hints for the reader to catch on, is that the handsome rider on horseback is actually a woman, who is only saved from an imagined rape by a horse and cart coming the other way. But to write, "I want your --!" is a stroke of comic genius.

    Long live the expleted deletive!

  2. I appreciate your choice of words here. It makes it obvious that you do, of course, use profanity in your everyday life, but that you know how to show some restraint on your blog. Foul language never stopped me from reading a blog if it's interesting, of course. But it had better give me some laughs along with the cursing.

  3. I'm afraid I definitely swear more in real life than I do in writing. In writing I use the expletives sparingly, and only when no other would will work to convey the meaning or tone. Partly, this is out of the same sense of consideration that you mentioned. I don't want to alienate people by saying "F-this" or "F-that" every other sentence. But also, I just don't feel the need to use profanity that much in writing. Profanity as an expression of anger or frustration is one thing, but I often find that once the bad habit is established, people often resort to peppering their speech with expletives simply out of laziness. I remember an ex-coworker of mine talking to me on break and everything was "F this. This is f-ing bull***. I don't give F-iddy F F F." It was like listening to a duck with a dirty mouth. It gave me a headache. I can be guilty of that, sometimes, although not as bad as that guy. I'm sure you run across plenty of this sort of thing. I care too much about writing to let it be reduced to this kind of trash.

    Also, if a blogger doesn't swear in their blog, I respect this, and I don't swear in my comments on their blog. This is just simple etiquette.

  4. When we were in the hive you know as well as anyone that if a uof was happening or gonna happen I was prolly going to be there or in it. But after watching you for a bit. And after listening to your witty banter I realized hey..... Psychological force works just as well in some situations. I don't need to thump someone for being a loud mouth. I just have to be a bigger smart a$$ than them. Wow just think of how many uof I would have avoided if you would have come along sooner. But after several years I finally became a very proficient smart a$$ killing any cone backs the offenders might have. And now I can actually answer the question my wife has been asking for years. " How did you get to be such a smart a$$?" Finally I can tell her " It's Rev's fault ! "


  5. I like your philosophy about language here. I've always thought that profanity is pretty poor word choice. It might have some emotion behind it, but not much meaning. So using it at the right time can be effective. And when you're writing, a good writer will be able to come up with the right word and not have to resort to vulgarity.

    This also makes me think again how much your job and my job are similar. (I'm a teacher, remember?)

  6. I'm trying to imagine what "efargulate" might mean. Nah, better not! Indeed, professionalism always works better in the long run, but sometimes using those expletives just feels so dang good! Leaving em laughing is the best, though. Good job!

  7. Vincent- I started out in the bog world reading a guy who used good proper english (most of the time) and the idea kind of stuck with me. Plus, I do like making up my own swear words now and then. I use them at work too, just to confuse the inmates.

    I imagine if it was at a time when it might be thought crude to write the word "trousers" in case a woman might read it, then it must have been a scandal for a woman to be actually wearing them, eh?

    Donna- I try to be respectful to my readers. Y'all are some nice folk. besides, it's good for me to behave myself at least once a day.

    Bryan- I do swear alot at work sometimes. But I do try to contain it. Every once in awhile though I get in a rut and drop a few f-bombs in my conversation. And I do appreciate your courtesy, believe me.

    Greenghost- There are times when a good zinger will just deflate somebody and take the fight right out of them. It's hard to fight back when you are doubled up with laughter. But I don't think you can really blame all of that on me. It's okay if you do, though. I don't mind.

    Brent- I just can't imagine doing your job. Probably about as much as you can't imagine doing mine. I don't control my mouth well when I get pissed off. And I suspect the school board would frown if I threw one of their kids out a window.

    Lolamouse- It means... well, whatever you need it to at the time. Like "Snap". I can rattle off some silly nonsense that will make them go "What?" or I can blister the paint right off of them, depending on the situation.

  8. "Small talk" made me laugh out loud.

    I suppose you probably get heckled on a daily basis. Probably comes with the job territory, I guess. But you seem to handle it well. And I personally don't see any harm in swearing at prisoners. They're in there for something far worse than throwing around a few eff yous, so they can't really complain when they have it thrown at them.