When I was in high school I worked for my dad in construction and my coworkers were always seedy men – guys with stories that would make anyone uncomfortable because of their crudeness and vulgarity. Many of these men were hard workers – a good example for me at a young age. But they also had no conscience, no self-control, no modesty – a bad example for me at a young age. They shared their life with me as we worked trimming out a house or shingling a roof. Their jokes are still rattling around in my mind; their stories of debauchery still linger.
It wasn’t always the crusty and lowbrow men that added things to my mind. When I first went to college the internet was just gaining momentum and friends were emailing friends dirty pictures, crude jokes, and links to websites. It was a time of unabated freedom for me because in high school we didn’t have the internet at home [and we rarely used it in school], so getting to college and having all this information available to me was like an avalanche. There before me was a whole world of information, humor, music, thoughts, and ideas.
And let’s be honest, some of it was from my own choices – the music that I’ve listened to, the books I’ve read, the people I’ve been with. Sometimes I knew something would be vulgar or crude or offensive and I wanted to listen to it, like George Carlin’s “Seven Words You Can’t Say on Television” or Lenny Bruce’s “To Is a Preposition…” Other times I had no idea what something was about and it all snuck up on me at once, an appalling blindside to my morals.
So here I am, now in my 30’s, with all this junk in my brain. All these tasteless jokes, these dirty songs, images forever burned into my consciousness. It’s frightening, really, because I don’t want any of this in my mind. I can’t help but think of all the useful stuff I could be using that space for – like how to find the center of a circle with only a ruler, or knowing all the states and their capitals, or remembering important historical dates.
I pray every day that all this junk will be taken away from me, because I don’t want it to be a part of my life anymore. But it’s hard, too, because for better or worse all this stuff formed me into the person that I am now. I now recognize what’s good and what’s bad for me. And at the same time I suppose some of this stuff is going to be stuck with me for a long, long time. Like the theme song from The Brady Bunch.
much love. sheth.