Labor Dazed

What happens to people who don't do anything all week.

Labor Dazed
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Hey Everyone,

The lazy placeholder image is a perfect example of everything I've done this week in the responsibility category. I've spent the better part of the week not working, but missing an issue of The Weekly from The Lorem Ipsum would be the first of its kind. I haven't even missed an issue on Christmas Day itself, although that's probably because the Holiday hasn't yet landed on a Friday since I launched this periodical. Still, if there's one thing you can rely on, it's your Friday reading.

Despite my dedication in sending these emails and yours in reading them, even newsletters deserve days off, so this week, I'll be rerunning an old favorite.

When Marty McFly traveled through time from 1985 to 1955 to direct his unsuspecting father, George, to stand up to Bif, George questioned his advice by saying, "You really think I oughtta swear?" To which Marty responded, "Yes, definitely! Goddammit, George, swear!"

Although contrary to what I had been taught from my youth up, I received that message and held it close to my heart. So, the answer is yes. You should swear. But there are plenty of reasons besides showing someone who's boss. A strong word may benefit your health and help you make friends too, and that's what I wrote about in June of 2021. I've gotten much better at writing since then. I'm much better at cussing, too. So, for those of you looking for a break from the BS of the news, here's an article about the use of the term BS itself. For many of you, this article is as new as a white pair of sneakers. For the rest of you, I've corrected the spelling errors, and the cleaner version is for you.

Let's skip The News. Here's today's Feature Story, a rerun.

Strong words on why you should definitely curse

Feature Story

I grew up pretty staunchy, which of course, isn't a word, and that furthermore demonstrates just how staunchy I and my contemporaries actually were when I was young. Even if it's not a word, if you know, you know. So, you know what I mean when I say I was buttoned up from a behavior standpoint. I'm talking about being so stuck up, so pious, and well-behaved that it was a burden. I was so devout I walked down the street with cheeks clenched so tight, quarters melted, and crispy one-dollar bills had permanent creases in them.

My well-behavedness gave me a sense of pride. At about the age of 16, a friend of mine said, "Daniel, sometimes you act like an adult, and I really hate it."

I loved it.

I was proud of my tightly controlled persona and my well-manicured moral behavior. I was proud that I raised money for a homeless shelter. I bragged that I never did any illegal drugs and that I never snuck out of the house to hang out with friends without my parent's permission. I always did my school on time, did my own laundry, and was never the instigator of anything bad that I did with friends (if ever). I was a very polished and very well-behaved kid, and it showed. I might as well have been a priest, and the risk of becoming one was there, although I've managed to avoid it so far.

Even with all of that, every now and then, and only in a safe, quiet place... I would... maybe... eke out. Shhhh...

A cuss word.

The temptation to let my hair down and loosen up just a little was always appealing. It was so taboo, but it just felt so freeing to say it. I'm certain you're thinking the very word right now.

To me, in my non-denominational, evangelical, fundamentalist, Pentecostal, religious upbringing, cussing was such a taboo subject. There were certain words you could not utter. It was understood that, at times, you had to talk about bodily functions, you may have a need to express your frustration about someone, and when you hit your finger with a hammer, you might need to react in some way. But you'll have to do all the above, using an alternative to an expletive. There were certain vocabulary words that were just not an acceptable form of expression.

But I admit I would let one slip every now and then. For me, like everything else I did, they were very controlled. I knew the right time and place. Like when there were no parents or clergymen around and certainly no one from the Federal Communications Commission. Each word would be uttered, either under my breath or with another curse-consenting friend.

It felt really good.

Eventually, I learned to use this skill more frequently. I still felt compelled to keep my potty mouth in check among certain friends, but the frequency became more regular, the choice words became more chosen, and the mixed company became, well, more mixed. I began to process whether it was acceptable or whether I could build any argument against my use of dirty language. It's important to check and double-check your beliefs, so I did.

According to Discover Magazine, cursing can relieve stress, build camaraderie, and be a sign of a more open and honest person. Would you rather have a conversation with a liar using a made-for-TV vocabulary or honest Abe dropping an eff bomb? What's your vice of choice when stubbing your toe? –Ibuprofen or "Ay Caramba!"?

According to James V O'Connor, cursing is a sign of a limited vocabulary, based on his “poverty-of-vocabulary” hypothesis. In actuality, this is not borne out in the data. According to Scientific American, the swearing fluent are often found to be eloquent in general and often skilled with language beyond the seven dirty words you can't say on television. Furthermore, studies suggest that those who are exceptionally vulgar may even be exceptionally intelligent. Congratulations to Samuel L. Jackson, who has outshined us all while talking about burgers and putting our kids to bed.

This is an excellent finding for many of us because it has been found that the taboo on swearing has decreased since this time last century. A study published in 2006 says that 74% of us encounter swearing in public, and about 63 percent of respondents in a 2018 study cited swearing as a way to cope with pain, frustration, or stress. Swearing can help you with more than just stress. The Great Sam L. (aforementioned) claimed on the Howard Stern Show that his potty mouth methods actually helped him overcome a speech impediment. Swearing helps people to let their guard down, which in sales conversations has been found to help salespeople close more deals. What more could you ask of a bad word?

So, I think it's time we let go of the stigma of language. I'm reminded of a time when I was young, and I sought some productive language for my own vocabulary. Under strict direction from my parents and church youth leaders, in order to avoid using the phrase "this sucks" to refer to something that was disappointing, I switched to the phrase "this blows." Well, unfortunately,... that got me in a hell of a lot more trouble.

My takeaway? They are all just words. Use them well.

(The original version of this post can be found here.)

That's it for this week.

Thanks for being here and sharing around the world.

Have a great weekend!

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