“Throw ‘em up and let something shine.
Going out of my fucking mind.”
– Linkin Park, Bleed it Out
I use the word “fuck” several times in Soul of a Lifter. One of the many real-life characters in Soul of a Lifter is an informant I had when I was a detective in the 1980’s. That informant is an integral part of the philosophical message I’m trying to convey in Soul of a Lifter. But he was foul-mouthed. A professional. I used his verbatim quotes throughout the book for a distinct purpose. It’s deep. The informant said “fuck” a lot. Along with other vulgarities. I can’t go back and change it. The story would be F’d up if I left out his F-bombs.
I was a cop between 1975-1990. During that time, my use of profanities grew. I used “fuck” habitually as nouns, adjectives, and adverbs. I can blame it on the environment but I won’t. It was my choice to say “fuck” a lot. I exercised free will. No one forced me to say fuck chronically. Another word I used frequently was “asshole” to condense descriptions of certain people. Instead of long, exhaustive narratives, “asshole” sends an efficient message. Then, I learned to combine the two profanities to describe extreme cases. I use both words strategically in Soul of a Lifter for a reason. It’s intended to send a deep philosophical message that has to be interpreted by the reader. It would be no fun if I simply wrote the message. It’s more challenging to have to figure it out.
To quote Bob Dylan in Someday Baby, “Little by little, bit by bit, I become more of a hypocrite.” I banned all profanities on my football team…by players. Zero tolerance for player profanities. It worked. Swearing was abolished. Temporarily. The ban applied to football practices and games only. And to football players only. The pendulum swung from one extreme to another. I was sending a message. I don’t condone the use of “fuck” or “asshole.” But a book is different. The sport of football is a character in Soul of a Lifter. I used fuck in a few place in relation to football to describe the emotions experiences during real-life events that I wanted the reader to have to interpret. Soul of a Lifter is not a police book. It’s not a football book. And it’s not a dirty book. I use fuck and asshole to get a real-life point across.
At some point during every workout, I flip my iPod to Bleed it Out. I have two live versions, back-to-back. They’re stuck in the middle between a Rob Zombie superset and a Metallica giant set. I can’t fully explain the psychological boost when I hear Mike Shinoda belt out: “GOING OUT OF MY FUCKING MIND“. It wouldn’t have the same effect if he politely said,
“Oh dear, I may be losing my mind” or “Gee whiz, I’m confused” or “Darn it all, my head is spinning.” I don’t consider Linkin Park to be barbarian. Going out of my fucking mind is art. Working out is a real-life character in Soul of a Lifter. It’s not a fitness book but you will learn insights about working out and I guarantee you’ll get motivated to work out more often and more intense. Promise. But it’s not a “muscle-head” book.
To my defense, social standards have changed. What “shocks the community” today is far different than, say, 1975. Read your Facebook news feed. Watch a movie. How many people are truly offended by hearing fuck? To my credit, I have curbed the use of fuck and asshole since I left policing. I’m working on it. And I’ve always believed in timing. There’s a time and place for F-bombs. To more of my credit, I don’t drop them inappropriately. I fully realize the contradictory absurdity of that last statement but let’s face it – a properly dropped F-bomb has its place.
When I was a kid, I would go to confession and list my sins. “Bless me Father for I have sinned. It’s been (X number) of weeks since my last confession.” Then I would quantify my misdeeds – 7 of these, 10 of those, etc. Now that I’m mature, I can’t help but think that it would be much simpler to say, “I’ve been an asshole.” More efficient, more sincere, and more truthful.
Here’s my point. My informant’s character in Soul of a Lifter would lose its authenticity if he said “frig” or “freaking” or “fudge.” I can’t delete “fuck” or “asshole” out of the book. It’s been getting rave reviews. I can’t tamper with Soul of a Lifter in case it becomes a classic. And besides, the story will truly be an F’d up story without F-bombs.
FYI – Here it is – a masterpiece. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsqKH_VIrng