Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The F-Bomb

Jimmy Conway:  They whacked him.  They f***in' whacked him.
    Henry Hill:  Aw, f***.

I love the f-word.  I love it when modified by the words "mother" and "me."  I love it when combined with suffixes like -er, -ing, and -you.  Because I'm Italian, I love the Italian version: f****la!  I love saying "f*** off" in Italian:  vaff****lo!

I'm confident EVERY Italian loves the f-word as much as I do.  It's is something so deeply encoded into Italian heritage that I'm sure it's most commonly an Italian baby's first word.

During the scene in Goodfellas when Tommy is incited to kill Billy Batts, I count about seventeen f-bombs.  It's only a couple minutes but the profuse usage of the f-word amounts to approximately ten percent of that short dialogue.  The Internet Movie Database calculates that the f-word occurs 296 times, half of which are said by Joe Pesci's character, averaging 2.04 f-bombs per minute.  Italians love the f-bomb. It's perfect with its crescendoeing /f/ and hard /ck/ sounds.


When I was five, I asked my mother to demonstrate for me the correct way to write the letter "f" in cursive as she lost herself in The Days of Our Lives.  Unsuspecting of her innocent young babe, she presented, I practiced.  Then, I asked her to teach me a "u" in script.  She presented, I practiced. Calculating my strategy so as not to give myself away, I inquired about writing "k," innocently skipping over "c."  Without breaking her concentration on the soap, my mother quietly but definitively stated, "Adam, knock it off."

I went to play with my G.I. Joe figures so I could pretend to have them say the f-word.

There is absolutely no word like it. No word relieves such anger or stress quite like "f***."  It is so versatile that not only does it sufficiently act as a frustration reducer but it conveys disbelief, disgust, hatred, and pain.  Add the gerund ending and you have a wonderfully illustrative adjective with which you may adequately describe someone you vehemently detest.  I love the f-word!

So, why have I censored it every time it occurs in this post, even when it occurs in quotation?

I have a two-year-old who magically repeats all the words she's not supposed to say until she is old enough to control the impulse to speak such language.  Apparently, the physical ability to demonstrate this restraint doesn't occur until between ages 21 and 25 when the pre-frontal cortex fully develops, thus activating impulse control.  Anyone not of age is prohibited from cursing.

I can't even say "shoot" without my daughter repeating it.  I could say, "I can't believe I just drove all the way to the stupid supermarket and forgot the stinking milk," and all she'll hear and repeat, despite the fact that she is more than capable of reciting that entire statement, would be the words "stupid" and "stinking."  For a time, I thought she was actually saying "F*** it" in response to my direction to stop playing with her Little People farm animal set.  I denied to my wife that I ever uttered such obscenities in her presence.  I handled it perfectly:  denial. 

So now, the one word I love, the word that relieves all stress, that sufficiently expresses my frustration, that facilitates the successful completion of IKEA furniture assembly, that accurately informs the driver in front of me of their actual speed, that notifies my wife that we don't have enough money to pay the fuel bill, that one single-most favored word by my people, I can no longer say.

Even if I say it in Italian, she'll try to teach it to her three-month-old sister.


Asterisks do not suffice... I want to yell it from my car as I drive down I95 in Thanksgiving traffic, out the window at the deer eating my hostas, at the f***nose who owned my house before me and allowed it to become infested with carpenter ants.

I suppose, however, sacrifices must be made in the rearing of a healthy human being.  I'll need to curb my enthusiasm for another 27 years, until my youngest is well into the age of majority.  I'll just need to not be Italian until then.  Either that or avoid stubbing my toe.

No more kids, honey... I'm not sure I can make it.


  1. I completely agree about the F-word! Nothing feels better than screaming F*CK when you stub your toe!

  2. When my son and his friend were about 8 they badly wanted to watch Robocop. The friends mum and I weren't so sure - given the graphic violence in the film and the fact that our boys loved to play fight as it was.
    However they sneaked a copy from a friend and watched it anyway.
    How did we know ?
    Not because the playfighting got worse, no, because they suddenly started calling each other motherfucker at every opportunity.