I had Christmas dinner at Koto's with family and friends this year. It's a new tradition for us, created in part to minimize the amount of work and mess on Christmas day, but also to take our attention away from those we miss every year. When we were little our traditions were almost written in stone. Our aunt, uncle and cousins would spill out of their station wagon and rush the house filled with smiles and excitement. My uncle always bought the wagon with the wood along the sides, so we would decorate it like a tree when he wasn't looking. There were six of us kids, our mother and grandparents in addition to our aunt and uncle, making us a large and noisy bunch. It was the same happy scene every year.
We all got older, our grandparents passed away. One by one we each had families of our own and our Christmas tradition gradually became a thing of the past (though I still find myself having to really engage my decorating impulse-control on the rare occasion that I see a woody-wagon). Our Mom moved away, and then it was my sister, daughter and I at Christmas. It sounds crazy, but part of what drives me to reach my financial goals is the desire to have the means to spend more time with my family. But I digress....
Our Koto's tradition is pleasant in itself. We descend on the grill, a diverse group of family and friends who are like family. Often we find ourselves making connections with the other folks sitting at the grill with us too. It's pretty cool. But one member of our group was going through an especially difficult time this year, and unfortunately this meant that every other word out of his mouth was an expletive of some kind. Keep in mind that this is a good guy and local business-owner, so he has no excuse. After the third or fourth F-Bomb, I finally elbowed him and gave him 'the look'; he got the point.
I am a champion swear-er, especially after a traumatic event (like hitting my head on a cupboard). I consider it a birthright since I am from Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. In the Kingdom, we don't need to be drunk to punch somebody, and we can swear like champs. Even so, because I had a good upbringing, I have largely grown out of my need to react in a physically inappropriate manner. I now prefer to stun my opponents into submission with my ninja-like mental acuity. It doesn't always work; I try not to take it personally. It's tough to reason with somebody who's best argument is "F*** you".
In spite of my lack of desire to get into physical altercations, I have retained the characteristic "Potty Mouth" so prevalent in my region. I think having a potty mouth is fine as long as you are 1) not in a public place and 2) not simultaneously smoking a cigarette while pushing a stroller (YUK!) 3) NOT HAVING CHRISTMAS DINNER. It's a respect-thing, you know? There are certain words I will absolutely avoid, anyway. I will not take the Lord's name in vain. I just won't do it. It is so ingrained in me that I cringe when I hear someone else do it. There are so many great words out there that there is really no need to. A well-placed F-Bomb will get the job done just about every time, especially if you are not a habitual user. I am not opposed to the F-Bomb when the need arises. But at dinner (or in public, period), let's keep it clean.