Thursday, July 14, 2005

On cursing

I had a bike wreck of sorts this morning. I'm fine, nary a scratch.

But, boy did my blood boil!

I was on my way to work, turning left using my left turn signal like a good cyclist should. There were cars at the stop signs on either side of the street I was turning towards. I looked at them and saw that they saw me. But the white car on the right side of the street slowly pulled out nonetheless, into the intersection and towards me.

Again, I saw that she saw me but slowed down some anyway, not sure what she was doing. She kept coming forward until I finally over-braked, lost control and fell down.

And then, from the street, I yelled, oh, did I yell. I cursed at this person in the white car, who did finally stop. Then I stood up after issuing my especially harsh curse to see that it was a tiny girl, maybe 18 years old, sitting behind the wheel with a fearful, “are you okay-I'm sorry” look upon her face.

I wanted to be furious, there have been several bad bike-car collisions in Louisville lately. One death. Serious life and death situations.

But I found myself feeling sheepish instead. I grunted an apology for cursing at this poor overwhelmed child and waved her on while I picked up my bicycle.

You know, I didn't used to cuss. When I was a child, I was raised to believe that it was just wrong. Any curse word. God did not want me to do it and I wouldn't have thought of it. Would have been embarrassed just to try to say one out loud.

Then, probably in my thirties, I came to realize they're just words, albeit pretty impolite ones. The bible holds no ban on “bad” words. Still, I didn't employ them myself.

I think it all changed with the Bush administration (you knew I had to fit him back in to a post sooner or later). So much behavior of the past few years has just plain deserved a good cursin' and, God help me, I have.

But never around a child and certainly never at a child.

And so, to some young person out there who I'll never have the opportunity to address, I'd nonetheless like to say, I'm sorry.

But be careful out there.


Dr. Mike Kear said...

Dan, what an excellent post. Thank you!

You made me remember an incident in my own life where I was driving a hearse (without a casket in it) to a funeral home. On a crowded street, a driver pulled into my lane nearly taking the front end off the hearse. I was furious! How could you bully a hearse! I had to slam on my brakes in order to avoid a collision. At the first opportunity, I whipped by the driver, cussing and shaking my fist. Then I continued towards the funeral home. In my rear view mirror, I could see the guy following me. My anger now turned to fear. I'd probably pissed off a 7 foot, 300 pound football palyer who was now going to beat me like a rug. I pulled into the funeral home and he pulled in behind me. I put on my bravest face and stepped out of the hearse. "Mister," says this 20 year old guy. "I never saw you! I'm so sorry! I feel like an idiot." Well, you know who the real idiot was. All I could see in my mind's eye was me shaking my fist and cursing this kid who felt bad enough about his mistake to follow me just to apologize.

I add my voice to yours, Dan. I'm sorry.



Kevin said...

Dan, glad to know you're not hurt, and you're right, it does always come back to the Bush administration. Kevin

Donna said...

Dan-- I can not even read about this near miss without crying. Please be careful; do everything you can to stay safe.


PS. I'm glad the kids weren't with you. It would've made interesting fodder for dinner conversation.

Dan Trabue said...

[The Mrs. - she loves me!]

whollyman said...

Dan, I know just what you mean about verbal slippage. I was not always a minister. I spent fourteen years working in a tannery. I can tell you that longshoremen have nothing on Tannery workers for language. Try as I might, I picked up their habits. I really try to watch it now. Nothing like a minister turning the air blue whether it is warrented or not.

lené said...

On the cursing since Bush, I know a few people who have echoed the same sentiment. :)