Sylvia: There’s nothing that a good fuck can’t cure. Seriously. It’s one of the most honest, if not the most liberating, pathways to freedom.
Erma: Well, I’ll take your word for it, Sylvia. I might be a bit too old to go that route.
Sylvia: Well, first of all, you’re never too old! But for God’s sake, Erma, I’m not talking about the act, although admittedly that can be therapeutic and invigorating, not to mention fun. I’m talking about the word. F-U-C-K. Yep, fuck. Best word ever.
Well, well, well. There’s food for thought most certainly. All of her life Erma has searched for the right word. A word that is so empowering that it possesses the unparalleled ability to convey deep dark angst, utter disgust, and unbridled joy and passion, not concurrently mind you, but at just the right times when all other vocabulary escapes you. And in one fell swoop and three old-fashioneds later, Sylvia, more frequently the student, becomes the teacher and Erma’s purveyor of the nuances and more deeply seated meanings of what Erma and her generation used to call the golden word. FUCK. Gilded by virtue of its forbidden nature– something you can do or think but never say.
Taking long, generous sips of their afternoon cocktails, Erma and Sylvia engage in what might just be the most meaningful, candid, and unexpectedly humorous conversation of their friendship.
“Here’s the thing, Erma. Fuck holds so much power because it’s multi-purpose. It’s universal. Fuck fits everywhere. In every exchange fathomable between two people, you can imagine, feel, and use fuck. It’s a noun, a verb, an adjective. It’s a word, an action, and an emotion.”
“It’s also quite funny, Sylvia. I have to admit that just hearing you say the word over and over is titillating. It makes me feel like a school girl. Almost a bit giddy and undoubtedly a bit naughty. Tell me more, my friend. I have a feeling that I’m in for a real life lesson– one that may be immediately applied.”
“Erma, all I can share with you is what I know first hand. I never heard my mother utter the word. Goddammit. Son-of-a-bitch. Shit. Jesus Christ. Yes, all of those would come burgeoning out at full force, especially when she was agitated duly or unduly by one of her children, her husband, work, or the dog. It wasn’t until Mom’s early 50s that fuck came into play, that it became a part of her lexicon. I remember it vividly. She was making the bed, of course in a bit of a rush as she always was in her valiant and ritualistic attempts to get organized and out the door before 7am. As clear as Sunday church bells in a small hamlet, I heard it. “Fuck. Fuck. Fuck’r. Fucking fuck. Fuck. Little mother fucker.” And there it was in all its glory. Unbridled. Free-flowing. She had stubbed her toe- the bad one, the big one with the corn and the ingrown toenail- on the over-sized, maple-footed ball of the bed. And needless to say, it hurt so much that FUCK was the only word, the sole expletive that fit. At that moment though, as Mom grabbed her toe with tears in her eyes groaning out fuck after fuck, I had an epiphany. My mother was human. Fuck rendered her mortal. The power of fuck had been unleashed.”
“Well Sylvia, that was nothing more than a gut reaction, don’t you think?” Erma suggested, almost apologizing for Mom’s foul language. “A spontaneous response to an annoyingly unfortunate event,” she added.
“Perhaps, Erma, but I think it revealed so much more. I think it was a release for her. No other word in the world could have expressed her anger while providing her with such liberation and cleansing. With each fuck, each hard and exasperated fuck, came freedom. And in all its power and glory, fuck gained instant standing and acceptance in my book because Mom had used it fiercely, passionately, and unapologetically.”
“I get it, Sylvia, but tell me, you can’t actually believe that one single word accommodates other life situations as well? How can one word be so multi-faceted? Give me examples–minus the obvious, of course.
“Fuck in a nutshell is what you are looking for, Erma. Here goes. Disgust: When your significant other feigns concern about your well-being and then proceeds to ask if his whites are done and what’s for dinner. Are you fucking kidding me? Joy: When your grown kid texts you before his bedtime (not yours) to share a pic of his favorite diva whom he happened to sight on his way to the subway. That’s fucking awesome! Incredulity: When the person next to you on the plane puts a used tissue in the seat-back pocket. What the fuck? Anger: When you finally find the perfect parking spot at the mall, have your blinker on to properly claim it, and then an oncoming car goes around several waiting vehicles to steal the spot. Fuck you. (That one must be accompanied with a look of disdain and the appropriately inappropriate finger.) Fatigue: You come home very late, depleted of every ounce of physical and mental energy after an excruciating day, only to find that a raccoon has rummaged through your garbage barrel leaving trash everywhere including your neighbor’s driveway. I don’t have one more fuck to give today. Indifference: When there’s just no pleasing anyone. I don’t give a fuck. Fuck it! And even though you don’t want to hear about the obvious, Erma, it really has to be said. Consider it a reminder to all women that you only get what you ask for. Desire: When you are with your lover and he’s willing to do anything to see you fulfilled time and again. Fuck me. Please. So, see Erma, the word is pure gold. It can be melted down and morphed into so many emotions. But of all the feelings, thoughts, and deeds that it encompasses, none is greater than the other “f” word that all fucks lead to–the mother of all “f” words–freedom. Don’t you agree, Erma?”
As Erma sat swirling the remaining ice cube in her tumbler, she thought to herself, “Fuck? Fuck, yes. Absolutely, Sylvia, freedom indeed.”