There was a time, believe it or not, (and not a century ago), when the “F” word was just that… the “F” word. It was muy, tres taboo, never spoken in public, and certainly never in public in front of a woman. And if some unsavory someone actually did let fly with “the word”, a chap in shining armor would immediately shout across the room, “Hey, watch your mouth, man, there’s a lady present.”
Nowadays, however, if the word is spoken in public… very loud in public… and your friendly bartender is pressed into taming the discussion emitting this word which might be offending some nearby diners, he might be heard to keep the peace with, “I hate to sound like the principal here but, could you please tone it down a little with the “F’s”, Ladies?” (Ahh, liberation!)
But in order to appreciate the following story which was told to your friendly bartender by an old-school bartender a few years ago, try and imagine a time and place… the early 60’s in small-town Wisconsin… when the “F” word blurted in public held the same recoil-in-horror effect as a nine second, four decibel fart.
The setting where this story took place was a civilized neighborhood bar which was frequented by a most uncivilized patron. This man was a boozer, a blowhard, and as owner of the biggest car dealership in town, the biggest shot in this very small town. Well every night this blowhard held court in this friendly saloon, recounting his “important” day, buying drinks for everyone in earshot, purchasing in the process their undivided attention.
Unfortunately, however, all those purchased ears were peppered with very salty language such as, “this fucking prick” or “that fucking asshole” which nightly caused the owner to halt his screed. “Whoa, man, take it easy with the “F’s”, okay? There’s women here!” And every night that plea would work, for at least five minutes, until the owner would walk away and then it was, “This other fucking guy walks onto the lot!”
Well the genial, gentleman bar owner sadly put up with this nightly fiasco… this swearing, reprimanding, swearing, reprimanding… for quite a few months because Blowhard was his very best customer and spent like a frigging LOTTO winner until finally, his self-respect taking precedent over the dollar, the bar owner decided to end this “fucking” nonsense.
And on the memorable Saturday afternoon that is now a part of the lore in this town… when Blowhard was having a huge promotion and his lot and showroom were filled with potential buyers… the genial, gentleman bar owner brazenly walked into said showroom, in full view of Blowhard’s glass office, and approached every customer shouting, “That’s a great fucking car, you should fucking buy it!” And Blowhard, upon clearly seeing and hearing this madness in 1960’s Wisconsin, (and observing thousands of dollars now running not walking out of his showroom), came flailing out of his office screaming at the top of his lungs, “Hey, man, you can’t say that… this is my business!” To which Bar Owner promptly replied in a soft but firm tone, “And you can’t say that in my place either… that, my friend, is my fucking business!!!”
Your friendly bartender just loves that story and hopes you did too.
And speaking of the “F” word: We all know that the Irish ( some of the Irish, that is) who actually live in Ireland, use the fucking word “fuck” four times per paragraph. It’s just another word to them with the moral and social impact of “the”. That said, your friendly bartender actually witnessed this following gem on one of his trips abroad to visit some friends. This couple’s six year-old son had just returned from his first day of school when his mother asked, “So what did you think of school, boy?” And when her six year-old son replied, “It was fucking brilliant, Mum,” his somewhat shocked mother said, with no intent of humor or irony, “Where in hell did he learn the word brilliant?”
Tony Update: For those of you who’ve read my post “Say What?”, about my Italian co-worker Tony the walking malaprop, this just in…
On Wednesday night he stated rather passionately, “How about this Obana? (that’s how he pronounces Obama) First day in office he says he’ll shut down Guatemala!!!” (“F” word priceless!)