Sunday, October 26, 2008

Swear Like a Sponge

“Son of a barnacle,” I said, channeling SpongeBob as I try to cut back on the cursing. I almost said the f word in front of my boss the other day when I was only mildly annoyed over something. So I need to retrain myself to use more mild language.

“Seaweed and scallops and…” I trailed off as I stared at my 66% score on the screen, knowing I needed 85% to pass the soft-shell-crab quiz to document my online training. “Shit,” I seethed, forgetting to censor in favor of glaring with true menace at my work laptop as it persisted in thwarting me.

I ended up with a paper and pen, carefully writing down the answers I selected and – much like that game on the Price is Right – I decided to change only one at a time, all the while coming up with aquatic curses when my score didn’t reach the appropriate level.

Seahorse!” I erupted with unreasonable dismay when I got to 80%, only 1 question being done with this particular course so I could move on to the 20 others that awaited me.

“Who the coral-reef writes these dorsal-fin questions?” I muttered, but my face lit with utter joy when a passing score appeared. I forgot that I was forsaking my weekend to deal with work that I don’t enjoy and basked in the glory of enduring a difficult ordeal. Then I sighed, went to get some orange juice and clicked on the next line and tried to stuff more scuba-snorkel facts in my brain.

For fun, I worked on a presentation. I answered email. I left voice mails for business calls I didn’t have time to return during the week. And I mowed my lawn.

I came up to go to bed, trying to keep with my ‘up by 6AM!’ schedule, but realized I hadn’t made time to go over proofs. My paper arrived yesterday and I glanced through it, wanting to weep. I was at my limit, faced with looming deadlines on asinine training, pages of email growing impatient for answers and projects I wanted to do but had no time to even consider. I ached with the need to rest last night, so I walked upstairs and curled sadly into pillows, wondering why I couldn’t pull off a bit of balance.

I woke feeling brighter this morning, tackling the quizzes with good-natured ocean-themed swearing and, when I realized I wasn’t quite tired at 10PM, opening a pdf to read carefully through the words I’d written.

“It’s good,” I decided, for I am proud of the work and pleased that it got accepted into this particular journal. But I don’t mind that it’s over. I think.

After writing Adam a note that said I’ve decided he doesn’t pay me enough to deal with this online quiz stuff, I returned to the list of items I hoped to accomplish and sighed.

“Stingray,” I sighed and clicked on one last link.


Anonymous said...

Why would you want to not swear?

post-doc said...

It's not that I aspire to stop completely. But given the amount of time I spend with customers and upper management, and understanding that I sometimes curse without really intending to do so, it seems a good trait to control a bit. My personal opinion is that words convey a bit more if they're used rarely. So 'fuck' when we make a profound business decision I don't like is better if I don't use the same word when my car isn't completely within the lines in the parking lot. (That was an example - I actually park quite well.)

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