Saturday, May 6, 2023

Public Guttermouths Are Bleepin’ Annoying

I’m trying really hard not to be cranky these days, but the passage of time is making it difficult to maintain my cherub-like demeanor. Something else has been grinding my gears lately, which isn’t helping. It really bugs me when people have loud and foul-mouthed conversations in public, well within the hearing range of total strangers. 

I freely admit my coworkers would be the first to raise an eyebrow and say, “Uh, Bill, isn’t it a little hypocritical for you to complain about profanity?”

The answer is: No, it’s not hypocritical, even though I’ve been known to drop the occasional “Frank” or “Shirley” bomb during excitable office conversations. The reason it’s not hypocritical is because I never talk that way in front of people who are, or who may be, offended by that kind of language.
By the way, I am not at all trying to justify crude and coarse language. I get it that being a guttermouth, even in private, is not very classy. If I can avoid using those words when someone within earshot would be offended, then it’s obvious I can control it. In other words, those words do not fly out of my mouth against my will. I choose to use them and I’m not particularly proud of that fact.

However, the point here is not whether I occasionally engage in foul-mouthed conversations — I do — the point is, I try to be aware of my surroundings and avoid saying anything that would make total strangers uncomfortable. Which is more that I can say for a lot of other people I’ve heard out in public recently.

The first time I was really aware of this phenomenon was a couple of years ago when I attended a Mets game in New York. It was an afternoon game, and there were lots of kids in attendance. That’s when I noticed that many guys in their 20s and 30s were laughing and shouting and carrying on, and every other word blasting from their faces were very loud “Frank” and “Molly-Franker” bombs. I felt really uncomfortable for the kids and their parents.
Then, I noticed that many of the parents were “Frank” bomb artists also, along with a few of the kids. So, I figured, “Well, this is New York. In this town, nuns and Kindergarten teachers talk like Joe Pesci in ‘Goodfellas,’ so this isn’t representative of what happens in civilized parts of the country.”

The most recent episode occurred, of all places, in the YMCA locker room at 6:30 in the morning. Among the early morning swim and exercise crew at the Y, I’m one of the youngest, so we’re way more wrinkled than raucous. It’s more like a bunch of geezers reluctantly breaking a sweat in the hope of adding a couple extra years to our lives. 

Out of nowhere, two guys began a loud conversation about a story that was in the news at that time: a dentist allegedly murdered his wife by poisoning her. One of the guys started pontificating loudly about other methods of wife-murder that, in his opinion, would not be discovered by the police. In the process, he dropped dozens of “Frank” bombs and basically described all women as being such, um, rhymes with witches, that it’s really a shame there are laws against killing them. His conversation certainly livened up the usually quiet locker room.
I’m not the confrontational type, so I didn’t say anything (except a quick prayer for his wife, assuming he hasn’t already buried her in the backyard). 

There’s no doubt folks have become more and more foul-mouthed in public. And the only thing I can say is, “What the Frank is wrong with these people?!” 


  1. What is wrong with these people is apparently the same thing that is wrong with you. You say you use foul language in public and can control it. But you don't. You use it. How can you possibly berate others for doing the exact same thing.?

    Ruth O'Keefe

    Ruth O'Keefe

  2. I also think it is worth mentioning that the entire city of New York has been trashed as uncivilized here. I don't know how many millions of people live in New York now but it's a lot of people to be labeled basically worthless.
    Ruth O'Keefe