The Friday afternoon faculty meeting had gone well. They had dealt with the agenda in less than four hours. Dean Ima Farseer thought she might have time for a quick TGIF restorative before dinner. Dr. Farseer is dean of the School of Electromagnetic Communigraphics at Letongaloosa Community Junior College.
“Thanks everyone. Have a good weekend.” At that point Prof. Walter “please don’t call me Wally” Tremmorer, who taught Palliative Communication Theory, spoke.
“Dr. Farseer,” said Prof. Tremmorer, “We didn’t deal with ‘Other Business.’ It’s the last item on the agenda sheet.”
“What other business do you want to bring up?” she asked.
“Swearing,” said Prof. Tremmorer.
“Oh, for hell’s sake,” said Prof. Rita Vozalta.
“That’s what I mean,” said Tremmorer.
“What?” asked Dean Farseer.
“She said, ‘Let’s get out of here,’” said Farseer.
“No.” “She said, ‘Oh, for hell’s sake, let’s get out of here.’ That’s swearing,” said Tremmorer.
“!@#$%^&*(^&*,” said Prof. Vozalta.
“Everyone heard that. That’s swearing,” said Tremmorer.
“Move to adjourn,” said Prof. Tom Smoorzly. He had moved to adjourn five times since the meeting began.
“Point of order,” called Prof. Richard Yardley, who had raised point of order six times.
Ima Farseer frowned. Hope for a TGIF and quiet dinner was fading fast.
“I’ll appoint a committee,” said Farseer. She was trying to save her evening.
“No!” said Prof. Tremmorer. “We must resolve this matter right here and now. It’s a legitimate item under ‘other business’.”
“The Hell it is!” said Prof. Altavoz.
“She swore again,” said Tremmorer.
“Move to adjourn,” said Smoorzly.
“Point of order,” said Yardley.
Then Pablo Molama spoke. Prof. Molama had been hired recently from the private sector to teach courses on personal and social effects of using personal digital devices.
“Prof. Molama has the floor,” said Dr. Farseer. Her voice was lost in a clamor of voices. She slammed a heavy textbook on the table.
“Prof. Molama,” said Dr. Farseer firmly into the ensuing silence, “has the floor.”
“We can give this to a committee and take three months to work on it, or we can solve it here and now in fifteen minutes. The results will be the same, I assure you.”
“Go on,” said the dean.
“I suggest we all do five minutes of online research on swearing. Then we’ll spend five minutes sharing what we’ve found—most of it will be duplicative data. In the last five minutes we’ll formulate a resolution and vote on it.”
“So move,” yelled someone.
“Second,” yelled another.
“All in favor,” said Farseer.
There was a chorus of yeas.
“Motion carried. Get to work.”
Five minutes later Dr. Farseer stopped moving her finger across the screen of her high end digital tablet and said, “Time’s up. What have you found?”
“’Hell’ is described as a mild expletive,” said someone.
“It’s still swearing,” said Tremmorer.
“How about ‘heck,’” asked someone.
“That’s not a swear word,” said Tremmorer. “The Oxford English Dictionary says that ‘heck’ is a mild euphemism for ‘hell.’ It was first recorded in 1885 in the phrase, ‘Well I’ll be go’d to hecky.’ So that’s not swearing.”
“ !@#$%^&*,” said Prof Altavoz.
“THAT IS swearing,” said Tremmorer.
“Move to adjourn,” said Prof. Smoorzly.
“Point of order,” said Prof. Yardley.
“I’ve found something good,” said Prof. Molama. His voice was lost in the clamor.
“Bang!” Dean Farseer slammed the book on the table. Silence.
“Dr. Molama has the floor.”
“A study by Norich’s University of East Anglia into leadership styles found the use of “taboo language” boosted team spirit,” said Molama.
“The study was published in a refereed journal in 2007,” Molama continued. “Professor Yehuda Baruch, professor of management, wrote: ‘Taboo language serves the needs of people for developing and maintaining solidarity, and a mechanism to cope with stress. Banning it could backfire.’ I move we adopt that language as our policy on swearing.”
“Second,” yelled someone.
“All those in favor,” said Farseer.
There was an enthusiastic chorus of yeas.
Prof. Smoorzly’s was a lone, dispirited nay.
“The motion carries,” said Farseer.
“Oh !@#$%^&*,” said Smoorzly, let’s make it unanimous. “I vote yea.”
“Adjourned,” said Farseer.
Dr. Larry day is a retired J-School professor turned humor writer. His book, Day Dreaming: Tales From the Fourth Dementia is available for purchase via his website: http://www.daydreaming.co