Monday, March 27, 2000
Fred the carpenter looks like a wild man as he tells me: "It's the fuckin' floor, man. I gotta cut a fuckin' access but the fuckin' Skilsaw was fuckin' smokin', man. The fuckin' blade hit a fuckin' nail. Brand new fuckin' blade, man..."
We're in the hallway of an office building where Fred has been hired by the landlord to, apparently, cut an access hole in the fuckin' floor.
A well-dressed woman appears. She asks Fred, "What are you doing?"
"It's ... uh ... I ..."
"The ... uh ..."
The woman sighs. She moves on.
Fred is fluent in the language of carpentry, but he has a speech impediment: he can't talk without a liberal sprinkling of swear words, one word in particular. But Fred will not allow himself to swear in the presence of a lady.
To women, at least to that class of women who Fred would consider to be ladies, Fred appears to be an incoherent wild man. It's true that he looks wild and unkempt. In fact, he is wild and unkempt. But also, Fred is a gentleman. It takes a perceptive and patient lady to find that out.
Note: This is the one and only day I encountered Fred. I spoke with him for less than half an hour, but I owe him a debt of gratitude. If you've read my novel Clear Heart, you've met Juke, the character half-inspired by Fred. I didn't want to write an entire book of cussing, so I made up an alternate form of swearing. It's a forkin' fact, man...