They’re Just %#@$& Words

Ruth, the love of Bob’s life, leaves him for Chuck.

Next time he meets someone named Ruth or Chuck, will they just be names to him?

A father calls his teenage son ‘stupid’ when he can’t find the right tool.

A suitor says to his intended, “I love you.”

They’re just words, right?

Every time I hear someone excuse their use of profanity that way, these are the things I think about. Is it reasonable to place all the burden of effective communication on the listener, to make them decipher what the speaker means (or does not) by their language choices?

I think not.

If your goal is to convey the coarseness many people still associate with certain language, that’s your choice.

Claiming that others have no reason for offense is not.