Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Eulogy for an Old Drinking Buddy

I have lost a good and useful friend. He was a dark friend, no doubt. He wouldn't go everywhere with me. But where he showed up, he was effective -- even powerful; even intimidating.

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
He also was a fierce competitor on the sports field, but he didn't like the umpires and referees to see him. He was a gravelly whisper between me (the defender) and the fellow I was clashing with over the ball. He was right there with me if someone came all dust and high spikes into the base I was covering and gashed my shin.

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.


  1. And a Happy #&!#%**! New *&@!#$%^&*(+ Year to you, you @#$!*##!@

    1. @$%#. That was #$%@%(^ shocking. Nevertheless, much $(%&#*@ prosperity and joy to you, as well, even if you #$*@(@(# riddled my blog with #($@&# profanity.

  2. For what it's worth, I'm a profanity prude. Few people, even family and close friends, have ever heard me deploy foul language. As a result, I found I've amassed potentially devastating power, because when those very occasional moments do occur, friends and colleagues take me very, very seriously. It's like a needle yanked across a record, a smart bomb in "Defender," and whole armies of elves getting smacked by Sauron's shock wave all at once.

    1. There are so many things I like about your response, Jeff. 1) The use of the word "deploy." 2) The Tolkien reference. 3) The "Defender" reference -- only our generation... 4) That you are a keeper of the secret flame of profanity; a wielder of a lost magic. Perhaps there is hope for the impact of naughty the right hands.