Well, it’s finally happened. I’m getting old. Physically, I’m doing well, and mentally I still think like an eighteen-year-old. It’s my reaction to the younger world around me that causes my concern. 

The first thing I’ve noticed lately is rather than losing my hearing in my old age, most of the younger folks I encounter must have gone completely deaf. It seems every car driven by anyone thirty or younger has a stereo blasting music so loud it can be heard for blocks away. Even young parents with their little children in car seats are rolling down the street with a volume that makes their windows rattle and my teeth ache. 

We live in a boating community and in many cases the stereo speakers in these vessels cost more than the boat itself. I know one individual who has seven extra batteries just to power the speakers. These are concert arena type speakers that can literally be heard a mile away. A couple of years ago, my late mother was sitting on our back deck when one of these folks fired up their boat and blasted the stereo. The concussion actually knocked her off her chair. I’m not quite sure what the point is, although I’m guessing it’s one of those “my dog’s bigger than your dog” deals. Every once in a while at a red light I’ll notice a young person in an old car next to me. They’ll have the volume turned up as loud as possible, but even I know it’s not getting the job done. I’ve almost felt like giving them money to get some decent equipment.   

I should add to this rant that even though I consider myself a minor musician, I’m not too thrilled with current musical choices. Given the over-the-top bass involved in hip hop, I really can’t make out the words and I’m pretty sure the word “melody” no longer exists in our language.   

Speaking of language, what is going on with profanity? I was watching a fairly funny comedy with my wife recently and began to feel sorry for the actors. How many times can they use the same swear word in one movie? You could actually see the strain on their faces trying to make it seem convincing. I can’t imagine what it must have been like in the read-through of the script. 

Hollywood producers would say they are just portraying real life, but it truly is a chicken or egg thing. I read an interview with one of the current top comedic actors and producers  recently and he related how as a teenager he and his friends would create stories with as much profanity as possible because they considered it “edgy” and funny. I get that. I’m not a prude. A well placed expression here and there can be just right for the moment. But when the dialogue becomes almost exclusively swear words, the art is lost. 

Walk through any mall, stroll through any store, and if you want a real education, place yourself outside a high school at the end of the day. The art of conversation has completely died. Sexually-laced profanity is the coin of the realm. I’m especially bothered by the young parents who use vile language, sometimes directed at their children. 

When talking about swearing, I’m reminded of my military experience. After going through basic training and technical school, I got a brief leave to go home. I was pretty quiet during that visit. By that time my vocabulary was down to about twenty words and ten of them were profane. 

I should add for full disclosure, my parents always set a good example and profanity was not part of their every day vocabulary. Did they ever swear? I’m sure. But my father was an old school gentleman. Swearing around women was especially out of bounds. Sounds pretty old fashioned in this day and age. Also seems a bit refreshing. 

When I was younger, I read a quote by George Washington. For some reason I’ve remembered it to this day. Thought I would close by sharing it with you. And yes, I know. I’m getting old.

“The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it.”

 

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