Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Lounge Diary – Cussin’ is Patriotic!

July 6, 1984

My first day in the Navy.  

I was 17 years old, and had to actually get a special note from my parents to be able to show up for Induction Day, (this is an even larger story in itself, which I’ll probably post about later).

The grounds of the Naval Academy were like nowhere else, in my experience.  I grew up in Arizona and Colorado, so the East Coast was a mystery to me.  Some of the buildings were very old, (including parts of Bancroft Hall, the dorm building that houses all ~4,500 midshipmen at once), and all the red brick paths were covered in a greenish mold/moss.  I’d never been to a place so humid in my life.

It was strange, exciting, and terrifying all at once.  

It also marked my entry into the beautiful world of “Sentence Enhancers,” what some would call “Cussin’.

May 31, 2000

My last day in the Navy.  

I resigned my active commission in 1996, but I decided to “dabble” in staying in the Navy by being a drilling reservist for a few years.  When I lived in Fremont, CA, going down to Port Hueneme, CA to drill was not a huge hardship.  I now, however, lived in Chandler, AZ, which was a problem.  

Seebeas don’t have many places to train, (Gulfport, MS & Port Hueneme, CA are almost the only choices), so I decided to resign my reserve commission.  This turned out to be a very good decision, which I’ll write about later.

In this 16 year span, I served my country, and in the process learned a lot of new words.  Most were technical, but some where special.  Actually, they weren’t special to us, we used them everyday…with almost no consideration for the company that we might be in.

Saying “Fuck,” or “Shit” was almost the equivalent of someone in the civilian world saying “Yep,” or “Darn.”  It was an integral part of our normal, daily sentence structure.  We knew that we were home from deployment, when we couldn’t use those words, 24/7, anymore.  This may sound crazy, but I actually had to mentally adjust my speech.

Those words served us in peacetime and conflict.  They expressed our sorrow, and our joy.  They were our friends, and everybody always understood the context of their use.

I gave parts of my soul away, during those 16 years, and sometimes “Fuck” is the only thing that you can say.  My time in the Navy gave me those words, and I’m not ashamed of them…they’re old friends and many emotions can be expressed with a simple expletive.

So, the next time my salty language offends some of you, please remember that the US Government issued those words to me, and I don’t plan on giving them back.

Good night, and good luck.



  1. spacemanspiff

    I’ve never served (much respect Stipes) but I’m pretty good at cussin. I hope you can be a defacto drill Sergeant who can shape me up to be the best cusser I can be. I know that I”m a natural talent but need that extra coaching to be all I can be. A diamond in the rough!

  2. We swear like – pardon the expression – sailors at home.  Not in a mean way, just, as you describe, as part of normal sentence structure.  Donna watches all the Maple Leafs games, and by nature those require a great deal of swearing if any true fan is going to honestly express his or herself…

    Many of our friends frown heavily on it, but after 13 years of parenthood our kids use:

    None of it.

    In fact, we often get comments about how sweet and polite they are.  It isn’t because we hide words from them (“oh, don’t let the children here you say that!” kak!), it’s because I have had this same conversation with each of them as they become cognizant enough for it:

    “There are about half a million words in the English language.  Your task is to decide which ones are appropriate to use in which situations.”

    So far that works like a charm.

    Fuck censorship.  Bring on the honesty.


    “There are no bad words.  There are bad thoughts.  There are bad intentions.  And Words.” – George Carlin

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