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Dropping F-bombs requires panache

My tips for Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau

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Doug Speirs finds he has plenty in common with Liberal leader Justin Trudeau when it comes to salty language.

ADRIAN WYLD / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES Enlarge Image

Doug Speirs finds he has plenty in common with Liberal leader Justin Trudeau when it comes to salty language.

It appears I have a lot more in common with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau than I realized.

Naturally curly hair? Check! Boyish good looks? Check! Rapier-like wit with which we skewer our unsuspecting rivals? Check! Insouciant smile meant to convey a casual lack of concern with the affairs of common people? Check!

Those similarities are obvious, but I have recently become aware of two deeper, more profound characteristics shared by myself and Justin, namely:

1) A knack for inappropriately spouting profanity in public places;

2) Getting chewed out by our wives for being (bad word) potty-mouths.

In Justin's case, as most of you know, he was addressing the audience from the ring at a charity boxing match last weekend and trying to express his guy feelings about how he'd rather be fighting than just standing there talking to them.

Here's what he told the cheering crowd: "I will tell you, there is no experience like stepping into this ring and measuring yourself. All that -- your name, your fortune, your intelligence, your beauty -- none of that f --g matters."

The crowd ate it up -- even the creepy bit about "your beauty" -- but Justin later revealed his wife tore a strip off him for dropping the F-bomb in public. "If you had seen the scolding that Sophie gave me, you would have wished you'd used a different adjective as well," is what a chastened Justin told the media.

In my case, which I am going to share with you out of journalistic fairness, I was in a department store with my wife shopping for golf balls, which I needed in case I ever golf again. The thing is, when you are a discriminating golfer like me, you can't buy just ANY golf ball. No, you need "magic" golf balls designed not to hit trees or land in water or hit other golfers in medically important places that would cause them to file costly lawsuits.

Tragically, the store did not carry the precise brand of balls I required, and so you will understand why, as my wife and I walked away, that I loudly and angrily proclaimed: "Well, that's just F-bomb great, dear! Now I don't have any F-bomb golf balls!"

And just as those words escaped my lips, around the corner marched four lovely, sweet grandmotherly women who could easily have been mistaken for the local chapter of the Lullaby League from The Wizard of (F-bomb) Oz. In the wake of my, um, salty language, their eyes went as wide as manhole covers as they passed us in the aisle.

I do not remember precisely what my wife said to me at that moment, but to say she was cross would be a monumental understatement. What I do recall is she gave me "the look," a withering expression of laser-like intensity that all veteran husbands are familiar with when they cross the boundaries of proper decorum.

I am not trying to say we should never use the F-word; I'm just saying that we shouldn't use it indiscriminately, unless, of course, we happen to be movie stars, such as the ones in the blockbuster hit The Wolf of Wall Street, which set a new Guinness World Record for most swearing in a single Hollywood film, dropping the F-bomb or one of its cousins 506 (bad word) times, or an average of 2.18 times per (another bad word) minute.

But if you are not the leader of a major political party or the star of an Academy Award-nominated film, you need to be a little more circumspect. You should be strategic about swearing, employing it only in certain situations where it is morally justified, such as when it's very early in the morning and you really need a cup of coffee more than life itself. Consider the following examples:

INCORRECT:

You: "Good morning, I would like a cup of coffee, please."

Coffee shop worker: "Yes, sir."

CORRECT:

You: "Good morning, I would like a cup of (F-bomb) coffee, please!"

Coffee shop worker: "YES, SIR!"

There, did you spot the difference? Thanks to the careful, scientific placement of profanity, you not only got a jolting cup of coffee to start your day on the right note, but you were able to prove to an innocent, hard-working blue-collar worker that you are an absolute (insert random bad word here) jerk.

So why not do what Justin and I do -- get people to sit up and take notice of what a classy guy you are by casually inserting foul language into your everyday conversations.

It's what all the hip kids are doing. Trust me, nothing can go wrong. Unless, of course, your wife finds out.

doug.speirs@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 4, 2014 A2

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