HERE'S a subject to ponder. It involves rude words, mostly the f-word.
The f-word is thrown around with such ridiculous regularity these days it has virtually no impact.
Unless....unless...(and it's a biggie)...unless you happen to be sitting watching a television show with your 96-year-old mother - a harmless show you thought was a joyful travelogue involving gorgeous Italian countryside and sublime food - and the f-word keeps popping up.
Blushes all around. At least you think there are blushes, you are too busy with your head down and eyes averted to actually see.
Anyone who can claim to own a 96-year-old mother is obviously of a decent age herself, and was raised during a gentle and innocent era when the f-word had colossal shock appeal.
Ninety-six year-old mothers never, ever used the f-word, even in their own heyday.
Profanity just did not take place in ordinary Australian households in the '50s, '60s and maybe even the '70s.
Perhaps fathers would sometimes let a "bugger" slip, especially if they were doing a spot of handyman work and a hammer came down on a thumb, but mothers? Never.
I have never, will never, hear my 96-year-old mother say the f-word.
She does not even say "damn", "bother" or "bum".
I raised my three children from the '70s through the '90s and never once did I utter the f-word (in front of them, lots of it going on when they were out of earshot.) I can say that with hand on heart.
Now, in these free- thinking times even though I refrain from using the f-word in front of them, they feel free to use it quite liberally in front of me. Perhaps not liberally, but often enough for me to be a tad uncomfortable with it.
It is almost impossible to watch most good television now without a generous sprinkling of the f-word, unless you are in to reruns of Gilligan's Island or The Brady Bunch.
This means you are doomed never to enjoy a good earthy drama any more with your old mother. (Not really a bad thing.)
As for an outing to the movies with your old mother unless you would enjoy The Adventures of Tin Tin, forget it.
Is there a movie made today without a slew of filthy words?
As for taking an old mother to a live comedy show...well...let's not even dwell on that one.
The same goes for reading. It's almost impossible to recommend the latest best-sellers to your old mother now.
They're not only full of the f-word, but torrid sex scenes which you know would shock her because she never had sex.
It's a small dilemma in life, and one only for those of you with old parents.
Best we keep our relationships with old parents to weekly visits over afternoon tea and scones.
Or even better, just the occasional phone call.
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