Potty Language It was

October 06, 2003


Potty Language

It was in July, perhaps early August, so the little man was about 11 months old. We were in Sears. We had gone to get baby clothes and something or other from the house, and after doing the real shopping we were wandering through the tool section window-shopping on toys for Dad. I had the little man in my arms and was holding something or other in my off hand. A couple were looking at some of the power tools. It is odd, this was a few months ago, and I remember them but I do not remember what they were looking at, routers and drills I think, but they could have been looking at shop vacs.

She was medium height, perhaps a little taller than I am, blonde, in her late 30s. She had some sort of shirt and shorts combination on. He was talking to her and he was the one who caught my eye. He was short, shaved or crew cut, wearing a muscle t shirt. He had a thick fireplug torso - he either worked construction, lifted weights, or both. His left shoulder was covered with a large tribal tattoo. It ran out from under his shirt and looked like tiger stripes. He looked like he was naturally hairy and that he shaved to show off the tattoo. I am vaguely interested in tattoos, and while I have yet to find anything I would be willing to wear for the rest of my life I do tend to look at other people's ink to see what they have done. As a result we ended up close enough to hear them talking.

He was going on about, I think, the tools. It was hard to tell because every other word was fuck or fucking. There was a constant stream of profanity coming from that aisle. He might have been permanently angry; he might have been accustomed to talking in this manner; he might have been having a bad day. I do not know and I try to limit my judgements.

I walked away, carrying the little man. He is old enough that he is beginning to comprehend language. I explained that that man had a potty mouth, that he was talking in a very boring manner, and that potty language was what you used when you did not have any better way to express yourself. I repeated that it was boring, and we kept shopping. I try to limit my judgments, and I did not feel like provoking a confrontation on that day at that time over that issue, so I waited until after we had wandered away to explain potty language to the little man.

The funny thing is that we do repeat our parents. Dad was in the navy during the 1950s; he worked his way through law school as a deck hand on Great Lakes freighters after the war. He knows the language, he has worked with people who had a working vocabulary composed of nothing but four letter words. He does not care for it, does not use it, and taught me that an overuse of that language is boring.

When the little man is a little older I will talk with him again about the use and abuse of potty language. I do not mind that he will learn it, you can not help but learn it. I do hope that he will use potty language as I do, as a shock word that gains its effect because it is so rarely used.

Posted by Red Ted at October 6, 2003 10:26 AM | TrackBack