Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Mouth of a Soldier

From Ranger Up:

I curse. Most Soldiers do, and for good reason. The colorful vernacular of the Soldier has been forged by hundreds of years of resilience, swagger, and a comfortable relationship with violence. It’s more of a necessity than show because when you deal with high velocity projectiles for a living and trust your life to the guy next to you, straightforward language that leaves absolutely no doubt as to its meaning is crucial. Feelings are subordinated to hostility when in uniform, so a thick skin is the Soldier’s second body armor. Even in garrison, troops abscond the politically correct, “There are some things you need to work on, but you’re doing great,” in favor of, “You’re a fucking idiot! Get your shit together!”

My situation is a good example. As I’ve noted on several occasions, I work in a government agency that’s full of erudite scientists and advanced degree overachievers who use sterile, politically correct language to ensure no one is ever offended when they get loquacious. To me this is counter-productive, but then again, I’m one of the few people who wear a uniform on my floor and frequently let my mouth function before my brain can stop it. If I think I’ve offended someone, my defense is to shrug and say, “Jesus, I have the mouth of a soldier.” Works every time.

Now I have scientific backup. A recent study by noted San Diego-based social scientists Duffy and Medina determined that profanity in the workplace actually promotes cohesion and breaks down the walls of social awkwardism, which in turn builds better teams. Holy fuck! See, you feel closer to me already.

Since discovering this nugget of 411, I now look for opportunities to drop profanity just for the shock factor that it creates. But it’s an art that not everyone can appreciate. You can’t just drop shit grenades and F-bombs into every sentence and hope to create a super squad from it. After a while, the words lose their impact, so they have to be used sparingly and with just the right emphasis to convey the emotional impact that they’re meant to.

I think most people wish they cursed freely like those of us in the service. Our silver tongues can slice through the coldest of situations and get right to the heart of the matter by saying exactly what needs to be said with no mistaken double entendres. But that’s just not the case. The overwhelming majority of white collared workers adhere to the “kinder, gentler” method of verbal interaction, which isn’t always easy to translate. They want to talk like Soldiers, but just don’t know how. Here’s what I mean:

PC Statement: The benefit of this added capability is an integrated and networked solution that will improve the unit’s lethality.
Soldier Translation: This shit’s the fucking bomb, bro!

PC Statement: The new female in the office brings a great new attitude that makes the environment more pleasant.
Soldier Translation: I’d dip that ass in ranch dressing and explore hidden valley.

PC Statement: I’m not fond of his briefing style.
Solider Translation: That guy’s a fucking douche canoe rowing up Massengil creek.

PC Statement: I’m not confident in his ability to adequately convey the risks associated with this venture.
Soldier Translation: He’s a lying sack of shit.

PC Statement: Candidate X is not the best person for the task at hand.
Soldier Translation: His dick is so flat he could spread peanut butter with it.

PC Statement: I’d rather defer on attending this staff meeting.
Soldier Translation: I’d rather stroke my junk to reruns of Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman than waste my time listening to more diarrhea of the mouth.

PC Statement: Unfortunately, I really can’t. I’m task saturated at the moment.
Soldier Translation: Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin, shitbag.

PC Statement: I was hesitant to bring that point up in front of our boss, but I had no choice.
Soldier Translation: Like how I punked you back there, mullet head? Are my testicles salty today?

PC Statement: Let me know if I can help.
Soldier Translation: Awwwww, muffin. You got sand in your crotch?

PC Statement: I sure am looking forward to spending the weekend with my wife.
Soldier Translation: She’ll be driving six white horses when she…

PC Statement: My E.D. has been presenting challenges in my performance.
Soldier Translation: E.D.? Say again? You’re coming in broken and stupid.

PC Statement: Make sure you learn the ropes and get up to speed as soon as you can.
Soldier Translation: Flush your fucking headgear newbie or you’ll be scraping barnacles off Jaba the Hut’s ass by morning.

PC Statement: I’d appreciate it if you could take care of this matter at your earliest convenience.
Soldier Translation: Get the fuck down there and do your job before I clamp a Swedish penis pump to your nose, Pinnochio!

PC Statement: Oh, I didn’t know we got a new secretary.
Soldier Translation: Did the last one tell you about our ranch dressing incident? It happened.

If you’re blessed with the gift of soldierly gab, keep on keeping on. If you’re hopelessly ensconced in a work situation desperate for four letter words, embrace your inner Assholian and channel George Carlin’s “Big 7 of Doom.” Forego “bad idea” for “that blows goats,” and “really?” for “are you shitting me?” In the end your co-workers will appreciate the fuck out of your verbal sodomization of the English language. If they don’t, just shrug and say, “Jesus, I have the mouth of a soldier.”

Works every time.


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