By Brenna Berger
Military family, here's my beef: The blue language has gotten out of control. There is nowhere on post you can go without needing to take cover from an F-bomb.
The overuse of profanity certainly isn't unique to the military. Last weekend, on two separate occasions, we were seated next to tables of 20-somethings at local restaurants. Both times curse words peppered their conversations. But what happened next surprised my husband and me.
Both groups of young men approached our table and apologized for using bad language in front of my kids and toned it down. I've never had that happen when confronted with similar situations on military posts.
It's not like we're saints at my house. I've scolded my husband for his post-deployment mouth. There have been more than a few times when I should have washed my own mouth out with a bar of Ivory. And there was that time when my then-3-year-old stood up on the pew in church and announced in his loudest, clearest voice: "If kitchen started with the letter B, it would be a ." during the sermon. As you can imagine, it was not one of our proudest parenting moments.
This is not a free speech issue. It's about good old-fashioned manners. It's about situational awareness. Of course, salty language has always had a place in the military or we wouldn't have the saying "he (or she) swears like a sailor."
However, the January 1956 edition of The Officer's Guide provides clear instruction: "Foul and vulgar language larded with profanity is repulsive to most self-respecting men." I guess that's where I find myself wondering if I'm the only one repulsed by the incessant cussing. Are we failing to teach our children other adjectives and verbs?
At the risk of sounding like an old biddy, the prolific profanity seems to be a generational thing, too. When I was a kid, I wouldn't have dreamed of cussing in front of my mom for fear of going to H-E-Double Hockey Sticks.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, there are about 250,000 words in the English language. Perhaps it's time to set aside the curse words and find better ways of expressing ourselves. This is, unless I find a giant centipede in my basement; if so, pardon my French.
Brenna Berger can be reached at email@example.com.