I Wish To Use Fowle Language

Bad language has been the bane of my life.

Whether it was having my mouth washed out with soap ( one time only – I learned…) or watching as a look of horror passed over listeners when I let out a floater, the business of dirty words has always served me ill. Some cultures refer to this as swearing, some call it cursing – But there seems to be some portion of speech that is wrong no matter what language is being used. There were days when I could do it by saying ” Hello “.

I know quite a few bad words. Some of them are anatomical, some are irreligious, and some are connected with contempt and defiance. There’s a good deal of sex in there, from many angles. But I increasingly find myself hesitant to use them – they never seem to have a good effect….upon others or myself.

I used to think this distaste was an age thing…that I came from a time when good language outweighed the bad. But then I realised that the bad new words I know were taught to me in the good old days. And I’ve also met people my own age who lard every conversation with them. This generally just makes them sound foolish and crude.

Of course folly and vulgarity need not be the province of the elderly. Those same foul words in young mouths have an equally repulsive sound – superadded to which is the squeak of the puppy and the quick glance to see if the speaker has been judged to be kewl and edgy. I regard it as a signal to leave and seek better companionship.

But occasionally emotion and circumstance demand something be said  – if only to draw attention to an injustice or some emphatic point to be taken. We do need words for this. I think we should dip back into some of the Elizabethan pot for our curses. ” Rump-fed Ronyon ” is always good. ” Catamite ” another.

If you would use medical terms, call someone a walking gleet. Or a recurrent wen.

I have had occasion to use the Victorian mode of speech and to desire that someone go to another place and do another thing. And they did…it’s all in your tone of voice.

Is the Washing Done?

I’m pleased to be able to say that my wife and I do not stink. It’s safe to stand next to us in lifts and bus shelters. Sometimes we are even fragrant, in a good sense – if the bath soap is fresh or if we have been dusting with Mr. Sheen. In any case we could be retailed in the flowers section of the nursery, rather than with the fertiliser.

Such doesn’t seem to be the case with some I meet. I’m not sure if my own olfactory senses are highly tuned or just adjusted to our house…but there are folks in shops and on public transport that would set gas gongs ringing in the trenches. And not all are knights of the road, either.

I’ll forgive the harried mum with the incontinent toddler – we’ve all been there when someone’s done that and we’ve been unable to escape. The only thing to be grateful for, besides an open window, is that the infant is not a small elephant.

I’ll forgive the down and out bum – the street hobo who can barely survive, let alone keep clean. There, but for the grace of God, go any of us…

But I’m red-hot incensed at the twenty or thirty-something who just doesn’t bother to wash, shave, or change clothing before they come out. Their choice if they want to be passed by, but if they want to do it as a stink, they can stay home and stew there.

 

 

Nutwork Marketing

We’ve all had the experience of seeing someone begin to participate in network marketing. Whether they were selling soap products, essential oils, bulk groceries, or 3.5″ mortar bombs, we appeared on their prospects list because we were friends or relations. In most cases it then became a race to see which folded fastest – the network marketing scheme or the friendship. In special cases the relationship to the in-laws could also be scrapped.

Was this necessary? did it have to be? Could it have been avoided? Would you like to try these essential oil soaps that come in 48-case lots? No?

I think it is time to step away from this model of seizing upon our friends and relations as sitting ducks for the benefit of shadowy pyramid schemes ( and that is really all they ever are in the end, after the denials and flapdoodle have evaporated…) and reverse the pitch. It is time that we annoyed the get-rich-quick confidence tricksters by turning our friends and rellies onto them.

Here’s basically how it works:

  1. You make up a list of your relatives and fiends ( I meant friends…) – from close family on out to second cousins. Do not neglect the odder ones – the creepy uncle who makes you uneasy at Christmas – the aunt who screeches – the sister who says she is a vegan but smells like sausage. Marshall all your resources and make the paper list a long, thin one.
  2. Get accurate email and postal addresses for each of them. Telephone numbers as well, and particularly mobile phone numbers. Put this on a separate long, thin paper list.
  3.  Place the two lists side by side with the appropriate information for each person beside their name.
  4. Now slip the right-hand list down one division. each person now has false details next to them. False, but not terribly far from the truth.  Photo copy this document and label it ” List A “.
  5. Now free up the right -hand list and slip it up one division. Photo copy this as ” List B “.

You are now armed with two lists of nearly-right information that differ in two directions.

At this point you select the group marketing scheme, pyramid, social network, or whatever they are calling themselves and settle into a good long session of sending them List A  as prospects for inclusion in their next round of scamming. You’ll be supplying addresses and round-the-clock contact information that will certainly connect, but to the wrong person. However, the person who is subject to this bombardment of  California sales hype and new York bullshit at that address or telephone number will stand a very good chance of knowing the person who the scammer thinks they are addressing. They will recognise the name of their cousin or friend or workmate.

And they will be madder than hell – ringing up the supposed dobber and giving them the serve of their life. However, in the meantime, this second contact will have been receiving the same commercial bombardment in yet a third name.

At this point – about two weeks after the initial plant, you take List B and send it to the scammers via another salesperson. Don’t be worried about finding one – the schemes have multiple teams that will target an area before the heat is on. This salesperson will do the entire exercise again, but with a different set of nearly-right contacts. Everyone gets pestered again but supposedly by a different relative or friend.

You will have achieved three very good things:

a. You will have annoyed your entire circle of acquaintance for a month without having to spend money on petrol or buy them meals.

b. You will have wasted the time of the scam merchants for a month. Often this is long enough for them to clap their carpet bag closed and get on the steamboat.

c. You will have sensitised your circle of acquaintance to the dangers of this sort of personal affront. They will not fall foul of it in the future. You will never be pestered to buy diet supplements, soap, or time-share holidays in Queensland.

 

The Birthday Howitzer

Or the art of dropping on people at short notice.

It is an art. A black art, mind, but notable nevertheless. In Australia it’s been been refined into folklore. The ” Sundowner ” was an itinerant who turned up at stations looking for work just at sundown…when hospitality would not be refused but no actual work could be done. The nearest modern equivalent is the person who calls at tea-time, sees you trying to prepare the meal, but will not go away. They stay until you give way and invite them to a meal.

Then they complain about the cooking…

The Birthday Howitzer is somewhat similar except it is fired when there is a family celebration in the offing. The gunner arrives at the start of the family party with a gift…and therefore cannot be refused entry. The gift can be as tawdry or cheap as you like – the $ 2 or Reject Shop is a good place to stock up. The wrapping can be terrible. It need not be appropriate in any way for the recipient. It can even be horribly offensive – the salient point is that it is a present, and thus a key to all the food and drink on offer. A good Birthday Gunner can consume half their weight in barbeque and beer before the cake comes out. If there are take-away lollie bags for the kids, several of them can be snaffled as well.

A very special variant of the BH is the hospital visitor that brings in a magazine that they got out of the waiting room but stays to share morning tea and lunch and then departs with the patient’s fruit bowl.

You must excuse me -I’m feeling a bit peckish and I heard the rustle of a crisp packet opening…

O.K. Baumer

Orville Baumer was about my same age when I met him in grade school. We went to the 5th grade in Riondel and lived not too far apart. We also joined the Cub Scouts that same year, though Orville was a lot better at doing the badges than ever I was. I can only recall getting two in all my time – one for cooking and one for woodcraft. Orv got semaphore and shelter building and a lot more. He went on to Boy Scouts as well.

Orville was a home soul – he stayed in the town long after I had moved away. Went to high school there and eventually graduated a year ahead of me; I had dropped back a year through moving to Australia. He also stayed in the province for his university time, and got out faster with his degree than I did down here.

Orville had girlfriends in high school and university. A lot more than I did. He married a little earlier, though maybe that was a mistake – he ended up with a divorce from that first marriage. Thankfully, his second has worked out well, and he’ll be well into his thirty-some anniversaries.

Orville does like I do – keeps his cars until they are about 13 years old before trading them in. He never buys big ones – always just little sedans. He’s only taken two overseas holidays in his life. He lives in a regular house with the average amount of old furniture, cranky pets, and unsuccessful grass.

But Orv is different from me in one important respect. When tasked by some unknown  teenager with being responsible for all the ills of the world, Orville cringes and apologises. He says he is sorry for whatever the kid complains about and promises to do better. Orville bows his head in shame for owning his own little house and car, eating regularly, and minding his own business. Orville shys away from the internet groups and protest demonstrations and people who complain in malls.

Orville would never tell a work-shy, over-age, quasi-student who plays the welfare system like a xylophone for money, opiates, and sympathy that they are a public pest. He’d never call them pinko parish parasites. He’d never tell them to stuff their puerile secondhand manifesto where the sun don’t shine.

In many respects, Orville Kitchener Baumer is an admirably civilised person. I really should try to emulate him. One day. I’ll let you know which day I choose.

Blaming The Blamer

Or ” Polishing The Mirror of Introspection “. Polishing it to such a lustre that it will provide light where the sun don’t shine…

Has someone blamed you for something? Were you guilty of whatever they complained about? Are you ashamed? Or are you secretly proud of shelling that orphanage or running the 3-card monte game at choir practice? You would do well to ask yourself whether you should hang your head in shame or go looking for a rope and someone else’s head.

If the former, do your best. Sackcloth and ashes are not commonly seen these days, and you may not get the forgiveness you expect if you come into the lounge room or studio trailing bits. Likewise wailing and beating your breast may be mis-interpreted. Certainly beating anyone else’s breast will…

Take your cue from the American television evangelist who was caught red-handed  and dissolve into a flood of tears and self-flagellation. Fall to your knees and implore forgiveness – just remember to do it towards camera and in decent lighting. A down spot from heaven is a good choice for this, gradually growing brighter. Offer complete restitution but leave the country before the banks open. Remember that thoughts and prayers are extremely cheap…as, frequently, are those who offer them.

On the other hand, if you’d like to mount a spirited defence, there is no better target than your accuser. No-one is free of flaws, and if you can get a little prior notice you can work up a good list of them to throw back. And throw a lot – mud will eventually stick to any wall. Sex, money, politics, religion, war service, and questionable associates are the good traditional topics. Do not reject the small things you find – with a good spin they can be worked up into deadly weapons. Nowadays an opponent need not fail in a complete manner – even a bad sound-bite can tip the balance.

And you know which end the sound will bite…

Whitening A Reputation

No character is so bad that it cannot be made worse – and frequently this can be accomplished by praising the person in the hearing of others.

Really awful individuals know themselves to be so. They may start out thinking about justification for their sins but eventually have to admit to themselves that they are rotten. Then they either reform and become moral monitors for the community or become proud and arrogant in their waywardness. They boast to others and believe their own words.

They become bad-asses. Generally without realising that this means that they are still asses, but not very good at it…

Here is where you step in and whitewash them. Do it in the hearing of others and you may be thought a lickspittle, but do it to the face of the miscreant and you will become their worst nightmare; the person who lets their air out. The fact that it is bad air is beside the point – a balloon deflates no matter what you let out of the valve.

If you are kindly, sweet, pleasant, and polite, no-one else will suspect a thing.

BTW, I have always admired you…