No Cuss Club
Off The Wall, May 7, 2010

When I heard the news a couple of months ago, that a certain 14 year-old lad started a No Cussing Club in California, I first thought that this was a “no-goer”. Then I learned that members joined from all across the nation – all fifty states, including 21 additional countries. Still, that was not that surprising, because there are a good number of people, I believe, that do not like that language, me included.

Hats off to McKay Hatch, now 16, a junior high student from South Pasadena who, according the Legislative Counsel’s Digest, ACR 112, “…founded the club after noticing many of his peers were using cusswords and foul language that created an environment of rudeness and disharmony towards others on his campus. McKay reasoned that if pupils could eliminate cussing, it would be easier to stay away from drugs, violence, and pornography and turn their focus to positive aspirations and goals.”

California is first to establish a law that states that Cuss Free Week will be observed beginning March 1 of every subsequent year forthcoming. I wondered, “Are other states across our wonderful country going to follow suit?” Other thoughts came to mind.

We all have good and bad habits. I’ve often told people that those who have the good habits are nuns. On the other hand, excluding our fine ladies in black and white, I have met many individuals who display behavioral traits that impress me as living as God would want them to conduct their lives. It our weaknesses that have developed into committing bad habits, such as using offensive language.

I believe that too many people swear without thinking. When others cuss around me, it is like someone shoving a knife right into me. And when individuals use the name of the Lord in vain, I cringe every time. Guess who hates it more than anybody? God! Why would anyone do anything to anger Him when He has done so much to bless us, is certainly a mystery to me.

I bet you could think of words that could be substituted for those “naughty words.” It would be very unlike me not to include some I might want to substitute – sunklebump, ratsandmats, stinklesquats, fuddyhuddy, dinkyhooper, or Lord forbid, skootlepoop!

These “words” don’t have to have any meaning. You just have to get in a habit of exclaiming these substitutes as expletives instead of the foul launguage.

I realize habits are hard to break! After I wrote a column several months ago about asking readers to call me by my real name instead of Mr. Pee Vee, my request pretty much fell on deaf ears.

Oh the excuses I got…”Oh, I tried Pee Vee, I mean Paul, but it’s hard. I’m having trouble calling you Paul.” “To me you are always going to be Pee Vee, and that’s it.” And third, after identifying myself three times to a restaurant employee as Paul Volkmann, and finally telling him, “Mr. Pee Vee,” his comeback was “Oh Pee Vee, why didn’t you just tell me your name!” Duh…I thought I did.

Now, I’m not saying calling me Mr. Pee Vee is a bad habit. Not at all. I just wanted people to realize I do have a birth name and that same name is going to be on my death certificate. I’ll guarantee you this, it’s not going to state Mr. Pee Vee. However, the one who writes it inadvertently might mistakenly put my nickname down, for even this guy still calls me Pee Vee when we meet. I am hoping if he does put my birth name on that document, he spells my last name with two N’s. I know if he puts Pee Vee on the line, there’ll be no question, it will have the right amount of E’s!

Now that Hatch has got the ball rolling, let us all be very mindful of the habits we are developing. Maybe it’s a bit much to expect many other states to create No Cussing Clubs. If Californians are now required by law to be mindful of their vocabulary in a Cuss Free Week, what’s to say Pennsylvanians can’t do the same – stop swearing for a week! As far as I’m concerned, there is nothing stinklequats about that!

- Paul J. Volkmann
You can contact me by email