Thursday, 26 April 2012

Say WHAT?!

There are times and places for the use of foul and/or profane language. A public place like a tram, with no proper cause or reason, is most definitely not such a time or place.

Why am I saying this? Easy. I had cause to speak to a foul-mouthed twenty-something custard-for-brains fool on the tram to work yesterday on this very topic.

I was sat at the front row of the tram (I like to see where I'm going; it's a habitual thing, probably to do with being a professional driver), and he was the next set of seats back, sat opposite his friend, banging on and on about some 'music' that he was working on, which required that he spout f- words ad infinitum, loudly, and with no thought to those sat around, these being some older folks, a mother and child, and of course, me.

Now I tend to tell my friends that I have fluencies in two languages, these being English and Profane, with a minor in Foul. However, even I know when and where I may or may not use such arcane languages.

The lad was uttering rhyming lyrics, in a 'rap' style. Now, I'll state from the outset here that while I don't like rap (I do not think of it as a valid form of music, for one thing, as it's spoken, not sung), this is no excuse for swearing - especially in front of others who may not share your appreciation of whatever musical style you affect or appreciate - and I pulled him up on this, asking him to hold off on the foul language.

From his reaction, you could be forgiven for thinking that I'd asked him to wear a tu-tu.

There was silence for a fraction of a second, and then he had a go at me for apparently inhibiting his freedom to artistically express himself. Well, there's a word for that, and it closely resembles the word "molluscs".

I pointed out that artistic expression was one thing: having a potty mouth was completely another, and those around him, from their expressions, obviously didn't want to hear his verbal diarrhoea.  Then his friend came in with the now usual Muppet's lament: "Shut up".

I was incensed, now. "Excuse me?! Don't tell me to shut up! Who do you think you are?!" I had the impression this was all going to get a tad personal and maybe a bit physical, to be honest; not that I'm worried about that, it was just that I was in company uniform, and this sort of mess tends not to spread evenly around, but comes home to roost in honking great messy lumps, normally accompanied by P45s for 'Conduct Prejudicial', which no-one really needs or wants.

Luckily, the person I had originally spoken to obviously decided that discretion was the better course of action, and told his friend to lay off, adding "We don't want a confrontation". I thanked him, and turned back around (keeping a weather eye on their reflection in the glass to my front. You never know, after all). They spent the rest of their journey on the tram muttering about this country "never letting people express themselves artistically" or people of my "generation" not getting "it", whatever "it" was. They weren't swearing any more, so I kept to myself.

As to not getting "It". Well, if "It" is being an abusive and potty-mouthed rude little turd, then no, I don't get it. As I've said before, there are times and places for such language - I use it myself, after all - but a tram or, in fact, any kind of public place, is not the time or the place for it.

As to stifling artistic talent, I'd suggest they apply to 'Britain's Got Talent' or something. They'll probably be told a few home truths about themselves and their language choices, and be sent packing. Not that I'll notice, as I don't watch the show. I find 'reality' telly boring as (insert your favourite foul word here).

Anyhow, the upshot was thankfully an anticlimax, and the aim of my complaint to them was achieved: They stopped their foul language.

But one thing still rankles, a day later.

The boy I'd originally asked to hold off the language said a simple thing, but it's still eating at me. He said this: "People of your generation just don't get it!"

I've never been so obliquely called an old fart in my life before.

To quote my old man from many years back, then:

"Why, I outta put that boy across my knee and spank him soundly, and send him to bed without supper!"

Does that officially make me a Grumpy Old Git?

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