The Blog

Go Flatter Yourself

Writing is nothing more than an indulgent form of flattery unless you’re writing about something important in which case it’s nothing but an appalling form of incest that should be kept under wraps and prohibited from public viewing without a password.

Writing really is about words fucking letters, and letters fucking words to make noises fucking noises louder and fucking louder until something breaks or someone finally fucking comes.

It’s only later that we wonder whether the conception of a baby has indeed occurred. In which case it’s usually anti-climactic or perhaps it provides a new climax, but either way, no one, not one decent person actually wants to hear about fucking or sperm or the birth of a creation, no matter how satisfying. After all, “fuck” is a crude word and it’s a word that I hope I never hear my daughter repeat and yet I know that someday I will hear her say it and I will bow my head in shame and feel sad that my daughter is now saying a word so vulgar and yet so fucking benign that I have to bite my tongue and look the other way.

You see, I think we’re living in puritanical times, even though I also see why others think there might be danger in the amount of sex and crudity we see and hear on TV. I am not by any means a social critic as much as I am an observer of these fascinating, albeit maddening, times. It seems to me we as a society still overreact to anything having to do with sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. We make worse every taboo we create. Castrate me, but I really don’t think TV is a bad thing – no, I don’t think it’s sending us all to hell – in general, I pretty much believe in the hiker credence and I prescribe to its mentality: When it comes to life, leave the campground as you found it.

Oh, and one more thing: If you can’t improve it, don’t fuck it up. Your surroundings are what they are. And really, you’re usually better off leaving them alone.

As the Indigo Girls sing, “it’s only life after all,” so why should we get our noses so bent out of shape when someone on television makes a sexual innuendo or some teenager acts so horribly, so fucking obnoxiously, that we’re afraid our son or daughter will do the same? I guess it is because we’re afraid that our son or daughter will do the same – and embarrass us to no end. We’re so fucking concerned with what others think. We can do our Sunday best to teach our children well, but at the final bell, the sour cream and onion chips invariably fall where they may, usually to be found later during cleanup post-coitus, between two pillows on the sofa.

Yeah, life is blessedly more than just worrying about whether kids begin cursing at too young an age or acting crudely to get our goat. Undeniably many of these so-called societal conventions only offend us because we have been told they are offensive. Kids like to test us as parents and we as parents turn around and spend inordinate amounts of time fretting about how much our kids test us and wonder whether the neighbors are talking about us, when, instead, we should be seeking a common ground, a higher ground, and swapping diaper stories or pimple stories or – sweet Jesus – bedroom stories, so we know how to handle and – heaven forbid – enjoy this next stage of our lives.

Children truly are God’s way of keeping us honest. No matter what any priggish pear says. And I say that with all due respect to the prudes out there who would like nothing better than to see all sewer mouths like mine censored and left toothless. To the prigs and their holier than thou ways, I say: I don’t really give a fuck how perfect your kids are and I honestly give a rat’s ass how absolutely charmed you think your lives are. Once you keep your opinion to yourself, once you stop inferring how much your choices in life are superior to others, I’ll be able to rest. Until then, I won’t sleep a wink. Rusty bed springs withstanding and lurid sentences commingling, not one fucking wink.

About Dan Cafaro

Dan Cafaro is the founder and publisher of Atticus Books, a small press based in Madison, N.J. When Dan is not following his wife around the country, he is known to sit for long periods of time pondering how to live off the grid. Atticus Review is his first literary journal.

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