Tag Archives: Cussing

Pottymouth Training, Vol. 2



I’ll never be able to look at him the same.

Not after yesterday.

Just 44 inches. He loves to tell me how tall he is.

The kindergartener mesmerized by dinosaurs and modern-day reptiles.

By action figures. By animated family films. By his favorite books and television shows.

So sweet at times. So innocent. Not yet scarred by the brutality of gaining life experience.

He couldn’t have said THAT.

Did You Order the Code Red?

At school, my five-year-old son’s kindergarten class has a color-coded system to indicate what kind of behavior the students displayed during the school day.

Green days are good.

Red days are bad.

The day my son exposed his penis to other boys in the bathroom just as a teacher poked her head in to check on them was a red day.

My ex-wife texted me thoughtfully last night to ask about the health of my grandmother who had an old-lady accident with her car. I told her that my grandmother seemed to be okay, and that I appreciated her asking.

She followed with a question.

“What color day did he have in school today?” she said.

“Orange. He was afraid to tell me,” I said.

Orange is the second-worst. Just a step shy of red.

“What did he do?” she said.

“Talking. Not following directions,” I said, because that’s what he told me, and which makes total sense because that’s what he’s always in trouble for, just like I was in grade school.

We exchanged “Have a good weekend”s and ended the conversation.

Maybe a half hour later, the phone rang.

My ex-wife again.

I answered.

“So, his teacher just emailed me. And he apparently said ‘motherfucker’ in school today. Somebody told on him, and he admitted to saying it,” she said.

My son instinctively knew the conversation we were having and buried his face into the couch, and wouldn’t look at me.

This was WAY worse than the times he said “dammit” a bunch in mature and appropriate ways.

And I instinctively panicked because between my ex-wife and I, I am absolutely the one he would have heard that from. I know that I’ve let the F-word slip in front of him before. At least twice.

But I don’t think I’ve dropped a mother-effer in his presence. But, honestly? I don’t know. Not knowing, I think, is bad enough and an indication that I need to be infinitely more conscious of the way I speak.

Then, I did what any sane father would do, and handcuffed my son to a chair in an all-white room and shone a heat lamp on his face.

“Who taught you how to say that word!?!? TELL ME!!! TELL ME NOW!!!”

And I kept waiting for him to yell back: “I learned it from YOU, motherfucker!!!”

But he didn’t. Just like I don’t really have an interrogation room in my house.

But sitting on the couch, and again in bed after our nightly prayers, I asked him several times to help me understand who taught him that word or where he heard it before—which I am convinced he knows the answer to—but he wouldn’t crack.

“No one taught me, dad,” he said over and over and over again.

The mystery remains unsolved.

I’m pretty cavalier with my language. More than I should be, even in the company of like-minded adults. But that word becomes infinitely more vile when you imagine it coming out of your five-year-old’s mouth—and poisoning the ears of other young children.

“I want the truth!” I yelled in my best Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men impersonation.

You can’t handle the truth.

And I’m not sure in this instance, the truth matters. The damage is done. My beautiful child knows how to say really bad words.

Even if he didn’t learn it from me, it’s still my fault.

And as an aside, can we all agree that saying “motherfucker” should totally earn you a red day in kindergarten? Orange? Come on now.

Everything’s Better in the Morning

I’m still reeling a little from the realization that it wasn’t a bad dream.

That my little boy said that.

Goodness. I remember using some language here and there. I remember my mom flipping out a little because she heard one of my friends use the F-word when we were in eighth grade. Her heart would have stopped if she’d been in any of our junior high sports team locker rooms.

But, kindergarten!? Honestly?

Too soon, right?

*deep breath*

He still reminds me how young and sweet he is. He was cute when he woke me up this morning, requesting omelets from Chef Dad.

“Okay, baby boy,” I said. “I’ll make omelets.”

Then I paused. Baby boy.

I still have a bad habit of calling him that.

“Buddy, I’m sorry. Dad shouldn’t call you that. You’re a big boy now,” I said.

“It’s okay, daddy,” he said, patting me on the arm. “You can still call me that.”

Okay, then. Maybe just a little bit longer.

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How to Swear: Welcome to O-#%!*ing-hio


If you can read this, you might be from Ohio.

Because the folks at Mashable took their sweet-ass time reporting this awesome story, many people didn’t learn until yesterday that Ohio is the “sweariest state” in America.

The Marchex Institute actually discovered this and reported it back in May as part of National Etiquette Week.

So, I’m a little late to the party. But I’m going to try to be fashionably late.

The Potty Mouth State

Is that where I live?

Because honestly? No way we cuss more than New York and New Jersey.

I’ve lived in the Buckeye State since just before my fifth birthday, with pit stops in Illinois and Florida sprinkled between.

Also, I’ve lived in three distinct parts of this state. And I’m legitimately surprised to read this.

Here’s my favorite part: This wasn’t the NSA listening in on our personal phone calls or anything, which is when I’m guessing most of us really let loose.

This data was based on more than 600,000 recorded phone calls to BUSINESSES.


Presumably customer-service lines and stuff.

I’m always nice to the customer-service people I talk to. Even when I’m furious. Because, A. I know they’re getting earfuls all day every day and are immune and don’t care. And B. Kindness gets you better results.

But I like to imagine what I WOULD say if I couldn’t control myself.

For example, I used to be a Time Warner Cable customer. And while I don’t want to bag on Time Warner (because their local customer service team was top notch, and because they FINALLY carry NFL Network), that company was—without equal—the one I always said the most bad words about.

I imagine people who feel as I do, but don’t give a rat’s about kindness, say things like:

(Ear muffs, sensitive readers!)

Pissed-off Ohio Time Warner customer who just waited on hold for an hour on the only night this week he didn’t have to take his kids to an extracurricular activity or complete a project at home: “Hey! Time Warner! This piece-of-shit “refurbished” cable box is on the fritz again! Want to explain to me why my goddamn rates go up twice a year when your product is so fucking horrible?”

Time Warner rep: “I’m sorry you’re having problems with your equipment, sir. My name is Jonathan. What can I help you with this evening?”

POOTWC: “Well, let’s see. Shows we schedule on DVR don’t record. The fucking screen freezes and pixelates constantly. Your channel guide isn’t updated, and half the time it’s wrong when it is. And any time we try to call for help, all you assholes ever do is recommend we restart the cable box.”

Time Warner rep: “I’m sorry to hear you’re so frustrated with your cable equipment, sir. At Time Warner, we strive to provide the very best service at affordable prices and we pride ourselves on satisfying our customers. Have you tried restarting the box?”

POOTWC: “Are you fucking kidding me right now?”

Time Warner rep: “I’m sorry, sir. Can you please describe your problem?”

POOTWC: “… *takes a couple deep breaths*… Your shit sucks. My box doesn’t work right. Please fix it.”

Time Warner rep: “Sir, would you please read to me the 15-digit serial number on the bottom of your cable box?”

POOTWC: “Why don’t you just know wha-… nevermind… hold on, I’ll need to get my reading glasses and completely fuck up my entire home theater setup to pull this off.”

*Gets reading glasses on, grabs flashlight, gets even more pissed while pulling wires and shit all over the place while trying to read the bottom of his cable box*

POOTWC: “B-1-5-6-9-8-7-F-J-O-O-8-9-1-1.”

Time Warner rep: “Those are zeros, sir. Not Os. We never use the letter O in serial numbers because they’re too easy to confuse with zeros.”

POOTWC: “Um, I’ve got a fucking zero for you. I think the second quarter has already started, and I’ve seen zero fucking minutes of football because I’m a Time Warner customer and God hates me.”

Time Warner rep: “I’m sorry, sir. Time Warner Cable is committed to providing the very best television and Internet service in the industry. We understand how much you love to watch football and we thank you so much for choosing us as your cable provider… Do you see anything happening on your television screen?”

POOTWC: “No. This box is a piece of shit.”

Time Warner rep: “I understand, sir. Thank you for your patience as we work to resolve your problem in a timely fashion. Could you repeat that serial number one more time, please?”

POOTWC: “Are you fucking… *deep breath*… you ready?”

*repeats number, emphasizing the zeros*

Time Warner rep: “I see. I had it entered wrong. I apologize for the inconvenience, sir. Thank you for your patience.”

POOTWC: “I’m not being patient. I’m fucking pissed.”

Time Warner rep: “I understand, sir. We’re going to have your television service back up and running as soon as possible. I’m sending signals to your machine now. You should see the box reboot. Please let me know when you see activity. This could take a few minutes.”

POOTWC: “Great.”

Time Warner rep: “Who’s playing tonight, sir?”

POOTWC: “The Cleveland Browns are playing the Pittsburgh Steelers.”

Time Warner rep: “Really!? I grew up in Pittsburgh!”

POOTWC: *muttering* “Of course you did.”

The cable box finally starts rebooting.

Time Warner rep: “How are the Browns doing this year?”

POOTWC: “Don’t watch much football, huh? They’re fucking terrible. And when I say ‘fucking terrible,’ I don’t mean they’re having a bad year. I mean they’re having a bad millennium. Because—maybe you don’t know this—but the Cleveland Browns actually relocated to Baltimore back in 1995, so we didn’t even have our favorite team for three years. The Baltimore Ravens have won two Super Bowls since, including last year.

“When the team moved, that’s when I became an alcoholic. And while you might think that’s a bad thing, it’s actually been a GOOD thing, because then God gave us our team back in 1999 as a cruel joke. A bunch of us in Ohio got really excited about it and bought season tickets and got our hopes up about our bright future. But then we started actually playing games. And I’ve needed the drinks more than ever to cope.

“Between 1999 and now, only three decent things have happened: 1. A shitty nine-win playoff team in 2002, where we lost to the fucking Steelers after blowing a huge second-half lead because Dennis Northcutt can’t catch. 2. Joe Thomas. 3. A shitty 10-win season in 2007 where we didn’t make the playoffs because all the other teams were awesome that year, and because we couldn’t beat the Cincinnati Bengals—who blew ass—in an easy must-win late in the season, and because of Derek Anderson. And now, every year, we win four, sometimes five games. Our players always disappoint. Our coaches always seem incompetent. Our front office always seems incapable of acquiring new talent. Our quarterbacks ALWAYS get fucking hurt, so we always have to start shitty no-name players who have, literally, never started in the NFL before, so we get beat embarrassingly bad, and then everyone laughs at us.

“The one upside to only winning four or five games every year is that we ALWAYS have really high draft picks so we get to select from the very best players in college football using the system designed to create parity in the most-popular professional sports league in many parts of the world. Sooner or later, EVERY team gets good and has their day in the sun.”

Time Warner rep: “But not the Cleveland Browns? They don’t get their day in the sun?”

POOTWC: “No. Have you been listening to anything I’ve said at all? We always draft players who are out of the league three or four years later. We’re terrible. We always lose. We’re always sad. We’re always drunk.”

Time Warner rep: “Are you drinking now, sir?”

POOTWC: “I’m always drinking. Please don’t turn this box back on. I can’t watch that shit anymore.”

Time Warner rep: “But sir, your cable equipment should finish rebooting any minute now, and your game will be back on for you to enjoy!”

(And just then, the game does come back on. A Steelers linebacker destroys the Browns’ no-name quarterback and the ball comes flying loose. A Steelers player returns the fumble for a touchdown. It’s 24-0 in the second quarter.)

POOTWC: “FUCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why me, God!?!?! Why!?!?!?!?!?”

(The piss-drunk, angry Ohioan tears the cable box from the wall and throws it as hard as he can on the floor, stomping it to bits in front of his wife who will now start having an affair, and his two young children, who will now need therapy but not receive any.)

POOTWC: “I’m going to need a new cable box, man. I just fucked mine up.”

Time Warner rep: “I’m very sorry to hear that, sir. We can have a cable technician deliver a new box to your house in 14 business days between the hours of 8 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Will that work for you?”

POOTWC: “I hate Pittsburgh. And I hate you. And I hate my life. And I hate my football team. And I hate my shitty job. And I hate that I spilled bourbon all over me wrecking that piece-of-shit box. I need to go get another drink. Thanks for your help, Jefferson.”

Time Warner rep: “It’s Jonathan, sir. Thank you for being a valued Time Warner customer.”

POOTWC: “Your whole company can eat shit and die except for you, Jeremy. You’re the best.”

We use bad words.

We use bad words.

Welcome to Ohio

You know what’s a little bit bullshit, though?

All the crap this state takes from pundits and naysayers.

I am UNQUESTIONABLY biased and overly defensive of my home state. But I’m also kind of an expert on Ohio. I’ve lived here for the better part of 30 years, covering much of the state. AND I have excellent taste in things.

1. We have three major cities.

2. We have one of the Great Lakes.

3. We have nice people.

4. We have affordable real estate.

5. We have pretty natural resources.

If you’ve never been here, Ohio is nicer than you think.

I Have A.D.D.

This post jumped the shark during the fake Time-Warner call. Sorry.

I almost deleted this entire thing, but I feel like I’m in too deep at this point and just have to go with it.

I’ve been all over this country. From New York City to San Diego. Key West to Chicago. Las Vegas to New Orleans. Detroit to Charlotte. Kansas City to Cleveland.

And I’m REALLY surprised that such a large sampling of phone calls pegged Ohio as the state using the most bad words.

And that makes me wonder: Is my propensity for using bad language a function of my growing up in this state? OR, am I simply part of the problem?

I don’t like to end posts with questions, because then I can’t be clever the 15 percent of the time that I’m actually clever.

But today it just feels right.

What state, or place in the world, do you consider to have the most foul-mouthed people?

Inquiring minds need to know.

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