Off the Wall, July 02,

Many times in growing up, we were all handed a piece of candy and learned what sweetness was all about. Many more youth craved for more of substances containing that sugary flavor that melted in our mouths and even colored our tongues.

I remember when someone first handed me a lollipop and I held onto the stick while licking a little of the ball. I then pushed it into my mouth’s cavity and let my tongue locate it about the walls of my cheeks. I loved the orang-flavored ones. Other friends liked cherry, grape and rootbeer.

At that time I had never heard of candies within candies until I was given M & M’s. I think that was the first sugar-coated morsel that crunched when I bit into it. I imagine other candies would have made a noise when my wisdom teeth bit down on them. I tried to see how long they would last before my digestive acids reduced them in size.

Recently, I was talking to a man who asked me to buy him some chocolates that were filled with liquid inside. I told him I would do my very best to find them.

Regardless what’s on the outside and what’s on the inside, the product is still called candy.

Keeping that thought in mind, how we started out with one type of treat and then advanced to a variety of flavors that sweetened our palates, such is the course of travel we took when we learned to talk and how we use our language today.

Isn’t it interesting how some people have become so sophisticated in their manner of speech while others spit out words in any due fashion just to make themselves understood?

No matter how one was brought up, he learned some type of vocabulary, talk and grammar from family, friends or folks who they met maybe only once. At a very young age, the number of descriptive phrases was limited. As they got older new patterns set in and kids were now using words that some knew were profane, but parents and friends still laughed at, anyway.

Habits are something one learns over time. The way one addresses situations may be habitual in nature. Once one adheres to a certain way of life, he pretty much sticks to it until he is told or shown that there are better and healthier ways to do things.

Two habits come to mind right now – smoking and drinking. In rare cases can one state smoking is good for one? The only time I have heard where inhaling some kind of weed is good for one is in the case of treating epilepsy using Marijuana. Otherwise, it can lead to a person’s demise. Becoming an alcoholic can be a health hazard, also. It’s OK to tip the glass occasionally, or do so moderately, but once one is hooked, one is walking down the wrong road.

Let’s get back to speech, for that is what I plan to talk about today.

We all learned from our parents not only how to talk, but describe things, people and the goings-on around us. Some parents were very strict as to the words their parents used, while others felt however they expressed themselves, their children could and would follow in their footsteps. And so the latter learned that profanity was perfectly OK and used that vocabulary wherever.

The original wholesome language gradually deteriorated and was replaced by sugar-coated manners of behavior. Once tabooed by society, it became accepted to the point that even those whom are considered churched individuals think nothing of rebelling, describing or taking the name of the Lord in vain using profanity to any point seeing fit.

Society has accepted this manner of speech to the point that even if one attends a theatrical performance, most likely one is going to hear both profanity and blasphemy in the scripts of both actors and actresses.

Written permission has to be sought to drop or replace words with acceptable phrasing, I was recently told.

Most theater goers accepted this language in the play because of society’s numbness as to what is right and what is wrong. They laughed heartily when performers blurted out four-letter words that would make any God-fearing individual cringe.

As I see it, check first with the theater to ascertain whether profanity, vulgarity and blasphemy are part of the script. If so, don’t go. Do what’s right. Isn’t pleasing God your ultimate goal in life?

- Paul J. Volkmann
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