The diner was cozy, with brightly colored walls and shelves of knick-knacks between the tables. Behind us, an elderly couple griped about Obamacare over waffles. After placing our order with a waitress who (of course) called each of us “hon”, we turned our conversation to the subject of the last night’s concert.
We were in Eugene. R and I had traveled eight hours from Walla Walla in the middle of July–braving an un-air-conditioned car and hours, plural, of traffic’s glacial crawl–for a concert. This is not the sort of thing I typically do. In college, friends would rocket off on weekend trips to Portland or Seattle just to attend concert, a notion I never quite understood. Barring a Carrie Underwood concert last year (which, really, was R’s idea), the last concert I’d gone to was The Decemberists, back in high school. Before that was Captain Bogg and Salty.
But this concert in Eugene was something special. The headlining act was the Goo Goo Dolls, who had provided musical accompaniment for the teenage years of not only me and not only R, but, I’m fairly certain, at least every suburban American kid born in the ’90s. Not everyone’s a fan, of course, and even I’d backed down from the days of Goo Goo Dolls on endless repeat, but the band nonetheless held enough cultural sway to draw us, a few members of R’s family, and thousands of others to their concert in this Eugene amphitheatre.
We were only a few words into our concert debrief when one of R’s relatives made the quip, “I sure wish he hadn’t said–” here she dropped her voice to a whisper–“fuck so much.” “He,” in this case, was frontman John Rzeznik, who, in true rock star fashion, had liberally peppered his between-song banter and anecdotes with the word.
R’s relative continued, dropping her voice to the point of being inaudible whenever she uttered the swear. “It was ‘fuck this’ and ‘fuck that’ and ‘fucking’… couldn’t he just use some different words? Expand your vocabulary!”
This is not about John Rzeznik, who, I’m sure, gives zero fucks. Nor is it about R’s relative, who’s only one of the many people I’ve witnessed expressing this complaint. This is about the unfairly maligned “fuck”, and the people who can’t fucking stand it. Continue reading