The Norman Transcript

December 15, 2012

Fatherhood brings language adjustment

By Garret Leiva
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — I swear that I am not a profane person. However, good football games and bad drivers foul up my language. I am not alone in letting a few swear words fly.

Novelist Samuel Butler called profanity “a kind of prayer.”

Literary critic Cyril Connolly said vulgarity is “the garlic in the salad of taste.”

It’s also been said that swearing is “what is said when one doesn’t know what to say.”

Then along came our daughter — my little potty-mouth defuser.

Whoever said television is a passive experience never watched football at our house.

Far from an armchair quarterback, I follow my team up and down the field — literally.

If it’s fourth and inches, I’m millimeters from the TV screen.

Then there is all the yelling at players, coaches, refs, game announcers; no one is safe from my verbal onslaught.

Then along came our daughter — my little mute button.

Now I must chagrin and bear it when the Detroit Lions fumble at the goal line.

I desperately want to blurt out grammatically incorrect obscenities, but I bite my tongue.

I’ve actually drawn blood.

Driving can also make me veer into curse-word tirades.

Overall, my behind-the-wheel attitude is more avenue annoyance than road rage.

My driving posture changes, however, when I merge onto a busy expressway. Mr. Nice Guy takes a backseat.

My defensive driving turns offensive in nature. I am not above vindictive horn honking and sardonic hand gestures.

Then along came the driving life force buckled up behind me.

Now I curb my tongue when oblivious Reginald Van Dough cuts me off in his fancy SUV.

I simply put the car on cruise control and mumble a verse of “Found a Peanut.”

Another little thing that fatherhood changed is my tolerance of insects. Ants, flies, aphids, beetles — they all bugged me.

I didn’t think twice about squashing a Lepidoptera with my bare hands.

Ladybug or queen bee, my swatting instinct gave no quarter to gender or gentry.

Then along came a certain freckled-face entomologist.

Instead of getting the boot — or a thorax-full of rolled-up newspaper — insects are temporary house guests.

Bugs permanently check out if my daughter isn’t looking.

Under her watchful eye, however, I practice a humane catch-and-release method.

If the catch is too hard, the release resembles a flick usually reserved for boogers.

There are times in life when little things take on great meaning — especially my not-so-little-anymore fifth-grader in girls’ sneakers.

Fatherhood is not a curse, but a true blessing.

Garret Leiva is a columnist for The Record-Eatgle in Trav3erse City, Mich.

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