The Healing Power Of An F-Bomb

4 Feb

letter when your wife is your perfect counterbalance it stands to reason that if you tip the scales overwhelmingly in the dorky-direction, she would come down overwhelmingly on the UN-dorky side of the equation. Such is life in our household. We’re good for each other in that way. I loosen her up, she reins me in and we both wind up in a much healthier place. That said, when she wants to do something wonderful for me, something that may require a little more dork-factor than she is capable of mustering, she usually needs a little help. Such was the case a few months ago as my birthday approached.

UnDorkMommy sat me down one night and asked me what I wanted for my birthday. The only thing I feel like I’m missing in my life is the opportunity to hang out with a good bunch of dude-friends. The realities of being a responsible family-man just don’t leave room for the sort of friendships you enjoyed in your roaring 20’s, and I feel that loss pretty acutely. Certainly the skillset to foster those relationships is still there, but your priorities change when you’ve got a family, not to mention the demands on your time. So when she asked me what I wanted, my one heart’s desire was to have an afternoon to totally dork-out with some like-minded friends, most of whom were professional dads – family men like me. In my mind I imagined beers and burgers for lunch, followed by “The Hobbit” in 3D and 48fps (opening on my birthday weekend), and then more beers and artery-clogging food after that.

“OK… so… who would you invite?”

“Well, probably these people on my FB friends list.”

“OK… so… how would I get in touch with them?”

“Here, let me show you.”

“And… where would you want to eat?”

“Ask this guy. He’ll know the best place.”

“And… where would you want to see the movie?”

“At this theater here, but it’ll be opening weekend so we’ll probably want to get tickets in advance.”

“And… how would I go about doing that that?”

“Here, let me show you.”

Etc. Etc.

Let it be stated for the record that my wife is an incredibly competent woman. But in the nerd-world she’s a fish out of water.

Fast-forward a few months and I’m sitting at a brewpub with my dorkiest buddies, some of whom generously came from very far away, a frosty beer in front of me, garlic-laden awesomeness on a bun on my plate, tickets for everyone to the 2:30 show in my pocket. Almost none of the guests knew each other, but I knew the group would get along famously. Within five minutes of making the introductions the conversation was blazing. You see, the one thing that everyone at the table had in common (besides me) was a thorough appreciation of all-things-geek. Whether it was the childless couples who got out of town to do something different, or the dads at the table who cashed in their one dads-night-out card for the year on this event, the chemistry in the group was instant. The geek-factor was sky-high. The conversation flowed like The Force through a Jedi (that was almost too nerdy to type even for me). It was just what I wanted – just what I needed.

Not the nerdiest of nerds, but nerds none the less.

Not the nerdiest of nerds, but nerds none the less.

Sitting around that table, something interesting happened though that I didn’t expect. The conversation was loose. The IPA was fantastic. People were letting their guard down among strangers. And then, suddenly, someone dropped an F-bomb.

There was a beat, almost imperceptible but a beat none-the-less, and then the conversation comfortably moved along. If a primatologist were there, secretly observing our group from an invisible daddy-duckblind they would have noted that beat, that moment as a turning point in the social dynamic of the afternoon. Allow me to explain.

droidscurseIn my life there are five roles I generally fill: Husband, Father, Doctor, Boss, Teacher. That’s pretty much my entire life. In each of those roles there is a certain range of expected, acceptable behaviors. Anything beyond that range compromises your ability to function in that role. This reality so dominates my days that I have become very skilled at identifying what the behavioral norms are for whatever situation I’m in, and adjusting my behavior accordingly. Much as I wish it were not the case, the dentist who wears superhero t-shirts and flip-flops when meeting a patient for the first time tends to have a tougher time maintaining a healthy business. Whether I’m wearing my husband, father, doctor, boss or teacher hat, in none of those circumstances is it appropriate to drop a well-placed, heart-felt, withering F-bomb.

batscurseMore than half the people sitting at that table were daddies and professionals, just like me. Their lives and their behavioral norms are totally compartmentalized just like mine. In that one post-F-bomb moment, when the daddies at the table looked up from their beers and looked around to take inventory of who was sitting there with them, and by extension what set of behavioral norms they needed to fall into, the realization suddenly came to each and every one of us that if ever there was a right audience, time and place to drop an F-bomb, this was it.

It wasn’t as if we suddenly turned into a group of sailors. But for that one glorious afternoon, surrounded by people in (and on shore leave from) the exact same life-circumstance as I am, there were no socially acceptable bounds on my behavior beyond who I am naturally. Me – just me. No hats to wear. No parts to play. As I drove home after dinner, I had to laugh. Heading into this birthday event what I didn’t see coming, what I didn’t realize about myself was just how badly I needed to curse.

…or at least how badly I needed the freedom to curse.


After dinner we all parted ways with smiles on our faces. The childless couples leisurely strolled off arm-in-arm with no sense of urgency. The dads heartily shook hands before heading off to their cars to return to their families. As fun as it was to spend an entire afternoon and evening with my nerd friends (and they all know the respect with which I use the word “nerd”) what I will remember most is how each and every one of the daddies came up to me at different points and said, “Thank you so much. I really needed this.”

Apparently I wasn’t the only one.

How many days is it until “The Hobbit – Part 2” is released?

-Dork Dad

(on a related note, check out this article from Alan Kercinik: “I Am A Dentist And I Need To See Your Wee Wee”. It’s applicable, I swear.)

23 Responses to “The Healing Power Of An F-Bomb”

  1. Starzia February 4, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    We’re counting the days!

  2. Christopher McPhail February 4, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    Great Post, I myself being an Ex-Sailor have had the F-bomb in my arsenal for quite some time and find it to be an excellent modifier…and as you have said, very enlightening…glad to see you enjoyed yourself!

    • dorkdad February 4, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

      Safe to assume you used your entire arsenal during the lack-luster commercials yesterday?

  3. Troo February 4, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    Oh man. As a former IT person with no children of my own, the F-bomb was my main vocabulary item for 11+ years, followed shortly by a few s-words and the occasional c-word.

    Now that I play games with kids at the friendly local game store this long-ingrained habit is causing me no end of grief. Nobody wants their little’uns bringing back bright and colourful new words after a day’s Magic or 40K. I’m struggling to replace everything with “pants” for their sake.

    • dorkdad February 4, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

      I would appreciate any advice you have to offer on how to make a living and support a family playing video games. Would a doctorate in dental surgery help my resume’?

      • Troo February 4, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

        My primary advice is to not have a family. That’s what’s really helping me so far 😀

  4. my27stars February 4, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    I do love me some f-bombs! I’m glad it felt good to cut loose a little. I cannot think of a single day since I was about 15 that I didn’t use at least one well-placed cuss word. 🙂

  5. Ande February 4, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    I get the hockey locker room for this on a weekly basis. Not as nerd-filled, but definitely (usually) kid-free.

    Yet, I still find myself jealous. Maybe it’s the “garlic on a bun” or the afternoon free to go see a movie, but you make me wish I were there.

    • dorkdad February 4, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

      I’ll totally invite you for “The Hobbit – The Desolation Of Smaug”

  6. Aptos Mommy February 4, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    Oh lord, was it mine? We swear like sailers when the kids go to bed.

    • Aptos Mommy February 4, 2013 at 1:41 pm #


    • dorkdad February 4, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

      Where I was sitting, it did seem to come from his general direction.

  7. Jeff Messer (@jefmes) February 4, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    The funny thing is, I don’t even remember it. Just felt like a normal day at the office sitting around the lunch table to me! 🙂 I think grumpy IT engineers to tend to let the words fly a bit more freely.

    • dorkdad February 4, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

      Wait ’till you get kids. Your vocab will tighten up real quick.

  8. Nerd Dad February 4, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

    One of the great things about being a doctor in New Zealand – I can say
    “Bugger” and “Arse” with complete impunity! If I did that in the UK (where I trained) there’d be a mail sack full of complaints within the week!

    F-Bombs however … NO. Not even here.

  9. Mitchell Brown February 4, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

    Great post. And I am a huge fan of the aforementioned bomb. I don’t get to fling it around like I used to, but I sure appreciate the opportunity.

  10. emmaleyce February 5, 2013 at 4:31 am #

    In Australia swearing is a second language, and in some rural areas considered the only language. But I guess it’s because of our laid-back lifestyle.

    • dorkdad February 5, 2013 at 6:06 am #

      It also helps that you guys swear upside down, so it all comes out looking like Russian. (c;

  11. familynomadic February 5, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    Awesome Post!! After a one or two F-bombs slipped from me in front of my 3 year old, my wife and I had to conduct a protracted campaign to remove said word from said child’s vocabulary.

  12. jetts31 February 5, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

    You and your wife sound like me and my wife. She is terribly incompetent as a nerd but incredibly awesome as a wife. And thankfully, working at a car dealership, I get all of my F-bombs out at work…daily. Excelsior!

  13. Amateur Idiot/Professional Dad February 6, 2013 at 8:58 am #

    I tend to swear all too often when I’m away from the kids. A single, childless friend called me out at a Denny’s for letting a couple F & other bombs fly, having not noticed the lovely family sitting in the booth behind me. A good lesson for those parents’ to teach their children: there are some real a-holes out there.

  14. techknowgalpal February 11, 2013 at 10:35 am #

    AWESOME, gut-wrenching laughs!!!


  1. The Healing Power Of An F-Bomb « « Tech-Know-GalPal - February 11, 2013

    […] The Healing Power Of An F-Bomb « […]

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