Where would he go with me? Smokey taverns, for one. He was only comfortable around gentlemen. He tended to stay hidden when the ladies were around, but when the joke was among the boys, he was a bawdy card.
|"McSorley's Bar," by John Sloan|
Sometimes, he was my only companion in moments of lonely anger -- those times when I skinned my knuckles, reaching in to replace a car battery, for instance. Or he would rumble out under the roar of the band when a quarter-inch drumstick splinter lodged itself into my finger halfway through a song, when I couldn't stop to take it out.
He used to be a star on the screen, too. He'd deliver some pretty dramatic moments; one, in particular, shared with the legendary Clark Gable. But he's no presence of the screen anymore. He's but a wraith. He's a strand of hay in a haystack.
He used to pack a punch. He was an HD screen in a low-def world. He used to be vivid and fiery. He used to make people with clenched fists take a wary step back. He used to break reputations. He used to shock the pure; sometimes, he'd even turn them on a little.
But we've killed him.
His name is Profanity.
How did we kill him? We over-used him. We stopped watching whose company we allowed him into. We started to let him live all over our TV screens, turning him into the joke of a bleep.
We started throwing him around -- letting him in between every four words. We started using him as an adjective when it was too hard to find another.
Here lies Profanity. He used to be lightning; now, he's a dead lightning bug in the palm of a cruel child.
Rest in peace, old friend. I remember when you could cause a riot.