The Word Fuck. And the Little Boy Inside
I’m sixty-four. In some ways, I feel like I’m still a boy. Is this a good thing? Or a bad thing? I don’t always have the answers to my own questions. Any anyway, not everything can be placed in the category of good and bad. And just because you ask a question doesn’t necessarily mean that you expect an answer. It doesn’t even mean that you want an answer.
I happen to know for a fact that some people I know look at me with an exasperated-shake- their-heads look and wonder why I am such a combination of grown-up intellectual and little boy irresponsibility. Sometimes I feel as if I’ve never grown up and suffer from a chronic form of extended adolescence for which there is no cure. I love that old cult movie Herald and Maude, a love story between a very dorky young man who has a romantic attitude towards death and a very strong willed and independent old lady who’s never given a damn about fitting into societal norms. At one point, Maude says to Herald: “Consistency has never been a human trait.” My mind is an entire collection of inconsistencies. I am a mature adult male and an irrepressible little boy. But I am responsible—in some ways. I think there are way I try to escape that word. But it all catches up to me. But that little Boy who insists on hanging on to me, that little boy is what makes me perfectly suited for writing for young people.
I believe we should be respectful and civil to one another and that we should be kind to one another—and I also like to say fuck. In Ari and Dante. Dante’s mother asks him why he likes to cuss so much. “Because it’s fun,” he says. That has always been my own explanation for why I like to cuss so much. It’s fun. It is fun.
And it’s true, there is a side of me that is enamored of the word fuck and wants to say that word everywhere he goes. That’s stupid and immature. Yeah, well there it is. There it all is.
I have this fantasy of getting a group of five hundred people together and marching to San Jacinto Plaza in downtown El Paso. We would all hold hands as walked and use all the cuss words we knew in a sentence. And when we were all gathered at the plaza, I would yell out through a speaker, “Okay everybody, on the count of three, we’ll shout out fuck together. Are you ready?” And everybody would shout out, “We’re ready!” And I would count to three, one, two, three, and raise my fist. And all of us gathered would shout out with one united and beautiful voice: “FUCK!”
And we would all break out into spontaneous shouts of joy, so proud of our great accomplishment and go around San Jacinto Plaza hugging each other saying, “Oh, well done. Good job. Good job.” And some among us would get extra praise, “You were particularly fantastic. You have a real future ahead of you.” And we’d all go home thinking that we had done our bit to change the world—even though we hadn’t done a damn thing to make the world a better place. Or maybe we had. It’s hard to evaluate the effectiveness of our actions.
And, yes, yes, I know that some people would be so offended if such a rally were to take place that they would have all arrested. But many of those same people would vote for a man named Donald Trump, a man who has not one honest bone in his body and does not possess one virtue worth emulating. Well, consistency has never been a human trait.
And what exactly does this little fantasy say about me? Calling Dr. Freud. Calling Dr. Freud. I could analyze myself—but having yourself as an analyst is very much like hiring yourself to be your own attorney.
Apart from my love affair with the word fuck I sometimes think that perhaps my forgetfulness is a sign that I just want to hang out and forget about the world that makes demands of me. Leave me alone. That might be the title of the autobiography that I will never write. Sometimes I just want to be left alone and spend the day making a playlist. I could listen to songs that make me remember the life I have lived and the people I have loved and beat myself up over all the mistakes I have made.
I’m happy that a little boy lives inside of me. But I’m a man now and have been one for many years. Sometimes I hate being a man, and this for several reasons. To be a man is a little more complicated for a gay man and it’s a lot of work, the kind of work we have to do every day of our lives. We have to find a way to be men in different ways than straight men do. I suppose a lot of straight men can put themselves in a car that’s an automatic. Gay men have to drive in cars with a stick shift, always aware that they are driving, always aware that at any moment they have to shift gears. And then there’s the pesky issue of becoming a grown up. An adult. And the truth is I don’t always want to be a grown up. Adulthood is over rated and there are fewer adults walking around this planet than we’d like to think. And believe me, I’m in the mix.
“But I have promises to keep,” writes Robert Frost. It’s those promises to keep that keeps most adults from sliding completely back into a permanent state of adolescence—but even that doesn’t stop some men from doing just that. See, being a little boy always tugging at you is not always a good thig. Not always a good thing at all.
I enjoy the freedoms that being an adult affords me. But a part of me will always enjoy being a little boy. Which reminds me. Everybody on the count of three. One. Two. Three. Fuuuuuckkkk!