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Throwing F-Bombs

I must have heard or read this somewhere, because I can’t possibly be the first person to ponder the usefulness of the word fuck.

First off, it’s vulgar. We all know and recognize that. But I think we lose sight of that the more we hear and use the word. Rather like swearing in general, it becomes second nature.

F-BombI once tried to give up swearing for Lent, and it lasted about 30 hours.  First swear word out of my mouth was fuck. Don’t recall the precise circumstance, but it didn’t take a pry bar to come out.

As a young man, I bought into the notion that salty language just added color to one’s voice.  Now I have trouble reining in the rainbow in front of Aunt Fran, Aunt Teddy or anyone’s mother. Probably embarrass myself more than I embarrass others. But only when I bother to think about it.

The word fuck has multiple uses, some of them contradictory or confusing.

It can be  a noun or a verb or an either/or, as in “So-and-so is a lousy fuck.”

It’s a frank and straightforward word for sexual intercourse. But why then do we “feel fucked” when we’re ailing or when someone does us wrong? Or why is it “fucked up” when something goes wrong? I like to think that having sex feels good. Beyond the glow, however, feeling fucked might be seen in terms of being in a subordinate position. Kind of a domination thing or manipulation, regardless of the activity. I guess being fucked or being a fucker  rests on control. And when it’s not going your way, that’s when you can ask, “What the fuck?” in a bid to find out where you stand.

In summary, for those translating earthy English, keep this in mind:

Glossary of “Fuck” Usages

1.  Fuck! (Simple expression of exasperation; also a little used and rarely successful mating call.)

2. Fuck? (Uttered in a quizzical sense, it means surprisingly good or at least not half-bad!)

3. Fuck me! (Acknowledgement of a mistake, whether true or not, often tied to slapping your own head; also, a demand for sex.)

4. Fuck this! 0r Fuck that!  (Stop; unless spoken in a literal sexual context, when it means just the opposite.)

5. Fuck yes! (Firm affirmation.)

6. Fuck no! (Firm denial, or I wouldn’t do that if you paid me!)

7. Fuck off! Fuck you! or Go fuck yourself! (Leave my presence and go pleasure yourself till you’re raw but don’t enjoy any of it.)

8. Fucked up. (Confused, injured or ailing; also, under the influence of  drugs.)

9. Fucking around. (Spousal infidelity, promiscuity or generally silly behavior.)

10. Fucking New York Yankees! (The despised baseball team.)

11. I’m fucked! (Faced with unpleasant consequences.)

12. New York Fucking Yankees! (The lionized baseball team.)

13. Wanna fuck? (Invitation to sexual intercourse; also an invitation to face slapping with Nos. 6 and 7.)

14. What the fuck? (Expression of incredulity)


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Whodunnit Story

Coach Gilbertson bust by Seattle sculptor Louise McDowell.

For several months, I was bothered that I’d been unable to convince a group of otherwise sound minds that we should credit Seattle sculptor Louise McDowell on a permanent marker for her work on a  bronze bust of legendary Snohomish High School coach Keith Gilbertson Sr. that was commissioned by family and friends and installed at the school.

No artistic credit was necessary, bust committee members told me.

That  is just plain wrong. Artists of every genre need and deserve proper recognition for their work.  We’re not talking graffiti here!

I discussed this with Sarah Clark-Langager, director of the Western Gallery at my old school, Western Washington University, widely known for its many outdoor sculptures, and where every piece has some type of permanent marker that includes the name of the piece, the artist’s name and donor identification.  She considered it unthinkable to display any work without identifying the artist.

Coach Armstrong statue by Seattle sculptor Louise McDowell.

McDowell previously sculpted a statue of legendary SHS football coach Dick Armstrong, and that piece, displayed at Snohomish’s Veterans Memorial Stadium, features a plaque with short bio of Armstrong  but no mention of the sculptor. I was told that no credit was necessary on that piece, either, and that McDowell was fine with that.

Not so.  I contacted McDowell by email, and she responded that she hadn’t been back to see the Armstrong statue since it was dedicated and had no idea that her name appeared nowhere near the work.  She also expected some type of acknowledgement with the Gilbertson bust and added that she was prepared to purchase plaques of her own, if need be.

Having relayed all this information to the head of the bust committee, I’m now told McDowell will be identified as the bust sculptor on a legacy plaque to be posted alongside the bust.

Can’t say what will be done about credit for the Armstrong statue, but score one small victory for artistic integrity with the bust and one small step toward getting off the hayseed list.


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