When I was a kid, there were certain words you just didn't say in front of your parents, or any grownup suspected of being a parental snitch. Swear words, my mama called them, cuss words, words little kids shouldn't say lest the Bad Word Police come take them away.
Being told not to say these words just made them that much more appealing to my felonious little brain. I couldn't wait to grow up and use these words without fear of legal repercussions and threats of imprisonment. In fact, I didn't want to just "use" these forbidden little gems. I wanted to use them elegantly, masterfully, the way a fine artist uses a brush to splash life onto a blank canvas.
Basically, my plan was to become the Norman Rockwell of profanity. And I'm proud to say that I obtained that goal years ago. What my mother used to call "cuss words" my oldest daughter calls "daddy words." You can probably figure out why.
These days, I'm trying to control my use of such words, especially around the kids. This is no small feat when you consider that 99% of the time my kids are the ones driving me to cuss in the first place. I never realized my vocabulary was a problem until, on her first day of preschool, my oldest proudly stood up and introduced herself to the class as, "Chelsea...Chelsea Dammit!"
I shouldn't feel too bad, I guess. My kids seem happy and well adjusted, inspite of my mouth, and I really am doing my best to use dang, heck and the ever popular "dog gone" instead of my old reliable daddy words. Besides, I recently discovered that if they don't hear these words from me, they'll hear them elsewhere, often in places we parents don't consider.
Over the past few weeks my oldest and I have attended three new movies aimed specifically at kids: Jonathon Taylor Thomas' new film, "Wild America" (Thomas is the middle kid from Home Improvement, you know, the cute one), "George of the Jungle," based on the 70's cartoon of the same name, and Nickelodeon's "Good Burger," a movie about wise cracking kids selling, well, good burgers. I think this was a Dave Thomas/Spike Lee collaboration.
Now before you start sending fan mail telling me what a great dad I am, let me say that I'm not entirely sure how I ended up at these three particular films. Each time I thought we were going to see "Men in Black," but I always ended up staring at the screen mumbling, "Is that Will Smith?" I think my daughter must've slipped something into my Big Gulp, probably one of those parental brain rape drugs you hear so much about.
All of these films were definitely made for kids, all funny, all very Disneyish, and all rated PG. PG? Why not just plain old G? There was no sex, no blood, no guts. The violence was slapstick at best. And the only thing naked was my outrage at the market price of popcorn. So why were these kids' movies rated PG? Could it have been because of all the daddy words being spouted from the mouths of cute boy Jonathon Taylor Thomas and his on screen pals? Or perhaps it was the repetitious fart and body part jokes that permeated "George of the Jungle." Or maybe it was because of "all of the above" in "Good Burger."
Shame on you, Spike Lee. Shame on you, Dave Thomas. Guess your mothers never told you about the Bad Word Police.
Since I see no need to shock you with precise articulation, not to mention the fact that I need this job, let's just say that the language in these movies would have had Walt Disney spinning in his grave. Every parent in the theater was openly shocked and offended by the blue language and pubescent sexual innuendo. My daughter just rolled her eyes at my gasps, as if she had heard it all before (from her mother, no doubt).
In the end, the thing I wanted to know was just how far these cute little yoyos could go before their PG rating became an R? To find out I checked with a couple guys I know in the movie business.
Okay, I asked the kid tearing tickets and another one who was mopping the men's room floor. According to these experts, unless the grandmother of all swear words is used (email me if you can't figure it out), the movie gets a PG rating, no matter how many other daddy words are used.
So there you have it, fellow parents. There are just four little letters between PG and R. Four little letters, can you believe it? When I was a kid the gap was much wider.
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Tim Knox, Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker, Radio Host
Founder, The Insiders Club, Giving You The Power To Start Your Business Today
Bestselling Author of: "Everything I Know About Business I Learned From My Mama"
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