Intercourse You!

 

Words

 

I met this lady on the plane coming back from Minneapolis. I knew I liked her the minute she turned to a guy in his 30s and said, “I see you giving me that old lady look.”

He had been of course.

Giving her that old lady look.

He was annoyed because a mix-up in the seat assignment was backing up the line in the aisle. I chuckled as she called him out for his age discrimination.  Lucky for me, the mix-up meant that she was now my new seatmate. I told her how she had amused me with her remark to the annoyed fellow. She said something about if he was fortunate enough to live long enough, he’d be old one day too.

She is 85. A doctor.

You know what that means, don’t you?

This was a woman who had earned the respect of many because she had the wherewithal to earn a medical degree during a time when few women were enrolled in med school. She was not intimidated in the least by someone younger making wrong-headed assumptions about her. People had been making wrong-headed assumptions about her for a long time. She’d stared down much more formidable men than a wimpy hipster in a hurry to find his seat next to the toilet in the back of the plane.

She had fought discrimination most of her adult life. She is not surprised to be fighting age-discrimination now. It is true that it takes a moment upon rising for her legs to cooperate. But, I can attest that after a 3-hour plane ride, there is nothing wrong with her mind. She’s far more articulate than most 40-year-olds. Well-read and knowledgeable about a multitude of subjects, from politics to religion to medicine. She was returning home after a 3-week visit with college friends. A few days at home and she was off again to see grandchildren in California. Whatever slowing down age has down to her is more than made up for by the speed of a jet plane.

When she discovered I was a wordsmith, she wanted to know what is it with this F-word. Why do people of my generation and younger use it so much?

“I have come to believe they have no idea what the word means. They are always using it in the most inappropriate of ways.”

How could I respond? How would you respond?

Of course she was right. Most of the time fuck is used totally inappropriately and out-of-context.

By definition the word means “to have sexual intercourse with.”

Imagine if every time the word fuck is used we started replacing it with the true meaning of the word – intercourse.

The title of Adam Mansback’s wildly  bestselling book would be: Go the Intercourse to Sleep. 

Bleachers full of parents would be yelling Intercourse You! at the referee who made the bad call during the football game on Friday night.

The teenager who failed to study for his test, pounds the desk and says in frustration: “Intercourse.” 

The Starbucks client whose drink is made wrong, twice: “Intercourse it.” 

The lawyer who loses the case she assured her client she would win: “That Intercoursing jury.” 

All of Jay-Z’s lyrics: “Intercoursing cops. Intercoursing ho. Intercoursing dope. Intercoursing money.” 

The chick whose boyfriend cheated on her: “He’s such an intercoursing idiot.”  Although, it should be noted in such a situation, fucking would be used rightly.

I can’t think of any other word in the English language that is abused so widely and so commonly as fuck. Can you?

As Twain said: The difference between the almost right word & the right word is really a large matter–it’s the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.

 

Karen Zacharias is author of Mother of Rain (Mercer Univ. Press).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Karen Spears Zacharias

Author/Journalist/Educator. Gold Star Daughter.

8 Comments

Jeanette

about 5 years ago

I will never forget my son in the toddler age... trying to say "truck" and instead would call it a "fruck", which sounded more like... you know what I mean :)

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 5 years ago

Hope Eddie doesn't mind you telling stories on him! :)

Reply

Deb Kosmer

about 5 years ago

When I was in my mid twenties I was on a woman's softball league. I am now 60. My team arrived at a field for practice just as a team of 10 to 12 year old boys did. We agreed to a scrimmage game with them. We were shocked to lose to them and by how many times these kids said fuck.

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 5 years ago

I can't believe you women let those boys beat you. WTI.

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Tracie Garbacz

about 5 years ago

At the end of this article the only thing I could think to say is, "I Intercourse Love you!" I never used this word, it was fudge, however , I now am exposed to it's abusive usage so much that once in a blue moon I openly say it. So, I "F*******" Love this article that you wrote! I am passing it on to my boss!

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Karen Spears Zacharias

about 5 years ago

Thanks Tracie. It's rare that I get fan mail of this nature. Usually when that word is directed at me it's in the more commonly abusive fashion. ;) So thank you!

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Charlie Lyon

about 5 years ago

Often, during my years as a school bus driver, I would try to help these kids understand that if they allow their vocabulary to be reduced to one word for all parts of speech they'd eventually be limited to pointing, grunting and clubbing each other to get their ideas across...I suppose language is collateral damage for the coarsening of society.

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AF Roger

about 5 years ago

My hat goes off to you, Charlie. You must have developed Teflon ears in your driving days. So, thank you for your service and welcome home! Even grunting and clubbing are not required today. Thanks to the iphone, all can be accomplished by pointing. There's an app for that... Anecdote from the world of working: One day, employee Bonzo was making a series of his usually unfounded pronouncements. Employee Bozo walked by and commented, "Bonzo, you are the world's greatest walking encyclopedia of misinformation." Bonzo frowned, smiled, frowned again, then simply looked confused. A few minutes later, Bonzo walked over to employee Bennie and earnestly asked, "Hey, was he braggin' me or cussin' me?" Ahhhh, the loss of vocabulary these days.

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