(Warning: So-called bad language ahead…)

Fucks are like skin elasticity . . . as you get older there just isn’t that much left to give. Not giving a fuck has its own anagram: IDGAF (I Don’t Give A Fuck). There’s nothing like a good fuck . . . placed correctly it can mean the end to an argument (No fucking way), place emphasis on a point (For fuck’s sake, of course I mean it!) or express success (Fuck, yeah!). I have to say, I am enjoying not giving a fuck for every little bump and poke that shows up each day to knock me off my path. Remember when we were younger and we worried about almost everything? No? Me either. Also, worrying about watching my language is one thing IDGAF about.

Way back in the 70s, George Carlin challenged America and the FCC to settle down a little bit in regard to profanity and bad language. His famous “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” showed up on his Class Clown album, recorded live in 1972. Carlin was always intrigued by language; his brother Patrick Carlin said about the bit, “[It] had such a good rhythm to it. It was just beautiful. It was a perfect, perfect thing and offensive all the way. It showed the stupidity of picking seven words out of thousands and how they can’t be said.”

People have weird reactions to mundane, benign words all the time. I’m not a fan of the word “catechism” and my husband cringes whenever I say “ceviche.” (Unfortunately, Ceviche is the name of a local, well-reviewed restaurant, but I guess we’ll never go there.) The reactions usually come from bad experiences, but also from words that sound like other bad words or those that elicit certain behaviors or images. Like vagus. (It’s a nerve.)

But let’s get back to fuck. Something about that one syllable combination of letters is so effective — on its own — to address almost any situation that may arise. When you pinch your finger in between the folding closet doors as you close it — so hard that the blood blister remains for weeks — is a pathetic little “darn it” going to handle that kind of pain? Absolutely not. “Fuck!” That’s the only expression that will move your ass quick enough to the fridge for a couple of ice cubes. How about finding last month’s water bill, the one you thought you paid, sitting underneath the pile of paid bills? “Aw, fuck!” is the correct response. That one little word contains an explosive burst of energy to motivate you to pay it now rather than tomorrow, which an “uh oh” would totally allow you to do. Fuck is both medically and economically appropriate.

My friend Robin, who is older than me, has no qualms about using fuck as an appropriate interjection. Once, on our weekly walk, I was lamenting about not having time to either write my book or weed my garden. I actually have plenty of time to write, I just haven’t figured out how to discipline myself into a working routine yet. Robin, a teacher who is familiar with complaints and excuses, was ready for me. “Work in the garden from 8 to 8:30,” she told me, “and think about what you want to write.” “Then, “ she said, “go inside and fucking write it.” And just like that, I had a schedule. (By the way, this is a friend who once told me to never write about her, so don’t tell her. She’ll fucking kill me.)

If you’re worried about becoming a fuck-sayer, you can practice. In private at first, if you’re nervous, inside your house. I recommend practicing it from a muttered, under your breath “fuck” to a full on, to-the-rafters loud, “FUCK!!” Once you say it enough times out loud, it begins to lose some of its fearsomeness. When you’re comfortable, take fuck out for a spin in public. You’ll get the hang of it. Fuck itself becomes benign in meaning; you might as well be saying, “rats.” Except “rats” just doesn’t quite cut it. You know I’m right.

We, as boomers, seniors, retirees, oldsters, whatever term you prefer, have to give up and/or lose a lot as we get older; the aforementioned skin elasticity, brain cells, great jobs, metabolism, hearing, hair. Why not claim — and keep — just one little word with a whole lot of power. Fuck, yeah!

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