Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The everlovin' Profanity Reduction Campaign

I am considering cleaning up my act, or rather my mouth, my potty potty mouth, just a tad.

While it's highly unlikely that the fuck word will ever leave my vocabulary entirely, I realized that it would behoove me not to fling profanities around as casually as I am wont to.

Along the lines of potties - and who knew these photos would be useful? - part of our tour of Ephesus, an amazingly preserved ancient Greek (then Roman) city in Turkey, included a Roman bath house.

One thing I learned was that faced with a Roman toilet, Nick cannot resist. He forced me into this photo. It is the kind of picture I hate.

He couldn't wait to pose for this one.
Anyway. The reduction of the filth.

Here's what prompted it. As many of you know, last month I wrote this fuming post about Comcast's terrible service and our ordeal trying to get cable back. I used variations on fuck a number of times in the post. It was, overall, a rather profane rant.

And as it came to pass, a very nice woman at Comcast headquarters read the post that very day and emailed me. She said, basically, that she wanted to apologize for what we'd been through, and to correct the situation.

She said, and I quote, "I’ll MAKE SURE the next appointment is handled better and to your satisfaction (no peeing involved, I promise)."

I'm not kidding about the "no peeing involved" part of the sentence.

Because, you know, there had been the part where I mentioned Nick's voiced fear that the next Comcast person would not only not help restore our cable, but would in fact urinate on his rug.

So. We got this email promising to make things right. And to take this higher up in the business, as part of a discussion on business practices. Which was awesome. And mortifying.

Because honestly? If I were writing a letter of complaint to a corporation? I would never, ever, use one profane word. Nor would I refer to an employee as a douchemonkey or fucktard or anything of the sort. And I wouldn't bring up any of the ridiculous statments my husband tends to make.

I may have a mouth like a sailor, but I'm not profligate with my epithets in just any situation.

And so I replied thanking her for contacting me, and saying that we had intended to write a letter of complaint, and I appreciated her writing first. I assured her that my letter would not have included any profanity or disparaging sobriquets.

Because, oh, cringe.

She was very good-natured about it, and said that while the situation was horrendous, my delivery was great and that I write well.

Which was nice to hear. But still. What if this post got printed out and passed around as an example of a complaint?


And so I am on this Profanity Reduction Campaign.

I'm looking for satisfying alternatives. The problem is that exclaiming "fuck!" or "cocksucker!" is just so satisfying sometimes. And I tend to write like I speak. Words like "everloving" just aren't as fun to say. But I am casting about for some good ones.

It's going to be a slow process.

Oh, and you know what was wrong? With the cable? Comcast had in their computer that we didn't actually get all the channels that we pay for. It took someone coming out to the house to physically look at our bill and call the office to go through, one by one, the channels we are supposed to get, to restore them.

This kind of situation really does make you want to say fuck fucking fuckity fuck a lot lot lot.

If one did that kind of thing any more.


  1. Can't you just picture her spewing coffee out her nose in her cubicle? And then she'd have to explain how she was reading blogs on company time but really, it was work related? And she'd have to type "comcast complaint+blog+douchemonkey" in her google toolbar to make it look official?

  2. Hahaha - "comcast complaint+blog+douchemonkey" - excellent! It didn't occur to me to ask her how she came across the post - I was so flustered about all the profanity and such! I would be delighted if I made her laugh that hard. Considering the alacrity with which she contacted me, it seems to me that Comcast must have a good system for monitering buzz about them, don't you think?

  3. I really love the fact that you were able to tie in "potty mouth" with "potty pictures."

    Nicely done.

  4. it's amazing how blogs and the internet have changed business so drastically. this is hilarious and yet very scary.

    getting rid of the sailor talk is one of my goals for the year too. i've done it before so i know it's possible... it's just the people i have to deal with that make it near impossible!

  5. Hey, it sounds like profanity gets the job done.

  6. That's so cool that someone from Comcast actually read your post and contacted you. I think most people tend to think that companies don't pay attention...but maybe there's a few employees out there reading blog posts after all! :)

  7. There is new corporate position that many organizations are utilizing. It usually has a job title of "Director of New Media" or "Emerging Media Manager." As NotSoJenny noted, the manner in which technology in general and the blogoshpere in specific have altered the paradigm of the modern consumer oriented business could never have been conceived as few as ten years ago.

    By the by, there is something charming about a classy woman who has a touch of profanity.

  8. I fucking love this post :) The photos take it to another level!

  9. The same thing happened to me when I wrote a post about bad Comcast service. But hey it got the job done!

    Profanity makes life more interesting. Besides, who wants to have to censor themselves all of the time?

  10. You know what's spectacular? That this woman will probably now be one of your regular readers, haha!

  11. Liebchen - Thank you! I was very pleased to be able to!

    notsojenny - It is amazing, really. As for the reduction, I know it can be done. My mouth, like yours, varies greatly with who I'm around regularly.

    Anonymous - Well done on packing so much fuck word into two short sentences!

    saratogajean - I do think that sometimes profanity is the most expedient way of expressing onesself.

    Zandria - I think it's cool too. It was out of the blue and completely shocked me.

    RestaurantRefugee - Then they must have someone in this position. No, this would've been unimaginable 10 years ago.

    And thanks for the tip. I'm likely not to lose that charming aspect of my personality entirely. Just maybe take the edge off a little.:)

    HKW - I love you! :)

    lifeintheleftlane - I find it excellent that they monitor on-line complaints. As for the profanity, I just feel like I ought to cut down. I can't imagine life entirely without it.

    Nicole - That would be funny. She was great and if not for her, I would venture that we'd still be struggling.

    Slightly Disorganized - Ohh, you are right, stopping the gossip would be so difficult! That's a commendable resolution. I fucking love gossip. Almost as much as profanity.

  12. It would take a post about profanity to get me out from lurking. I read that Comcast post when you originally wrote it. I. Could. Not. Stop. Laughing! I think it takes a little potty mouth to get your point across. And I would have loved to have seen the Comcast lady's facial expression when she read it. Priceless!

  13. Thanks for the much-needed laugh! And, truly, Comcast needed to know how you honestly felt, bad language and all. Cable ain't cheap, and it's a luxury, so it behooves them to keep their customers happy.

  14. it cracks me up how ruby (from the style network show, which i recently became slightly obsessed with) says "helicopter" instead of "hell" - but if you're aiming for sensible replacements, that probably won't help much. nor will "shiitake mushroom!"

    but they are still kind of amusing as around-the-house substitutes.

  15. Four words (and none of the begin with F): Don't you go changin'. RR's right, there's just something about a lady who knows exactly when to drop the bomb.

    Or carpet bomb as it might be in your case.

  16. I should try the same. Because cursing in front of kids has to stop at some point.

  17. Ten years of working in bars means I will never, ever be able to quit it completely...

    But I, too, have found that it doesn't work so well with help lines, no matter how speshul they are. Though, sometimes it's totally worth it anyway.

  18. I think instead of quitting profanity you should start a campaign to make it more socially acceptable.

  19. Bejeweled - Ah, thank you! It feels good to hear. As for the Comcast woman, she was so good-natured and nice about the whole thing.

    J - You make a good point, and you made me feel better about it.

    kate.d. - There is no way I can say helicopter or shiitake. Well, maybe helicopter.

    FoggyDew - You had me rolling with the carpet bomb.

    Arjewtino - I don't know that it would actually bother me if my kids were profane.

    LiLu - I can imagine
    that 10 years in bars would mean it would be very, very hard to expunge.

    Lemmonex - There is something appealing about the idea of changing the world one fuck at a time.

  20. I grew up in a very WASP home setting. Cursing was not at all acceptable. But, as I got older, and moved out into the world a little bit, I found that there is some real benefit to knowing how to curse in an intelligent and practical way. I would not take those words out of my vocabulary for anything now!

  21. I had great joy in telling Comcast when they called yesterday to see why I cancelled my Internet service (they tried 4 times to reach me- how diligent!) that I was less than pleased when they made me wait all day connect my service and then never arrived! (how not-so-diligent)! Needless to say, I was delighted to ready your unforgettable poetic post and told them and "Apparently I am not the only one this has happened to!" Thank you for getting their attention, gosh darnit golly gee willickers!

  22. Rough Edges - Hi in your new iteration! I didn't get back to comments on the previous post, but of course I read yours. I am glad to hear that. I think a little profanity is good for anyone, I really do.

    artichoke - Haha - gosh darnit golly gee willickers! It is SO galling to take time out of your busy life to sit at home and wait and wait. And then feeling like you've been lied to, given this promise that's taken very lightly. I would certainly have canceled in the month of our cable debacle if we'd had another option or if Nick had been willing to forgo cable.

  23. Hey Lisa,
    I read your blog every chance I get, you crack me up! A few years ago there was a perfume campaign and it said, "part of the art of being a woman is knowing when not to be too much of a lady". Point fucking taken.

  24. Also, I gave you an award today for being awesome.

    Stop by my blog to check it out.

  25. I would seriously bet that the Comcast lady was roaring with laughter while reading your ranty blog post. In the same position, I certainly would have been!

    And please don't stop swearing entirely. I've cut down on mine a LOT (because I figured it was bad when my former managing editor told me I had a mouth like a truck driver in the office), but there's something about swearing that can show passion and feeling like nothing else can.

  26. I would seriously bet that the Comcast lady was roaring with laughter while reading your ranty blog post. In the same position, I certainly would have been!

    And please don't stop swearing entirely. I've cut down on mine a LOT (because I figured it was bad when my former managing editor told me I had a mouth like a truck driver in the office), but there's something about swearing that can show passion and feeling like nothing else can.

  27. This is going to sound disgusting, but I always one of my photographer friends by saying, "Hi there, you sweet little bit of vaginal discharge!"


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