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Joseph Rudy and the Incredible Goddamn
by J.A. Tyler

The billboards on Route 66 are still as flashy and bright as ever. But the words have changed.

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The words.

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“Come get a Mother-fucker today!” exclaims an ad for the new Turbo 8 Mother-fucker four-door.

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“You’ll never seek dick again – it’ll come to you…” raves a certain Salon Deaux-Chelle out of Los Angeles.

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“ ‘Shits and giggles guaranteed!’ Watch Channel 4 for kids every afternoon!”

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But the cars drive the same speeds as they always have. And people look happy and sad and angry and good. Really they look like every generation before them. Like people. Normal.

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Everything is pure, innocent, normalcy.

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The radio blared:

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“Shit, that bitch was a hell of a Bitch – ”

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Joseph quickly changed the station. But it wasn’t the words.

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Oh no.

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He hated that commercial. Ever since Bitch had become a popular drink on the bar scene the ads were everywhere. If a minute went by without hearing one you were lucky. Especially on the radio. Overplay. Even Bitch had fallen victim.

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So Joseph slipped his Mother-Fucker into fifth gear and eased back into a new Beatles remix. Even the songs were the same. At least at the root structure. The Beatles still held some popularity – though it be through new DJs and mixers. And cars still had fifth gears.

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Rumors said that the Mother-Fucker 9 was going to have a sixth gear that would smooth interstate travel. Joseph smiled at the thought of the innovation.

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Ahhh, progress.

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“Point 6: But the root structure was unchanged”

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It had been his most important point, point 6. In fact, no one cared much about 1 through 5 anymore. They made sense, but it was that sixth point that had really driven it home.

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“Point 6: But the root structure was unchanged. And the root will remain unchanged.”

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He called it a “new skin.” And people paid top dollar to attend the first select lectures. It would have been impractical and improbable to bring something that fucked up straight into the public consciousness.

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“Point 17: Convince the King and Queen and the dominoes will fall.”

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And 7 through 16 were unimportant too. It was 6 that had melted the way they spoke.

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Penis and vagina were already approved. But the usual was medical and nothing more. Clinical. Like an exam. Fucking Pap-Smear.

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Pap-Schmeer.

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But the others were out (always): dick, cock, balls, ball sack, pussy, cunt – …

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The list (always) went on (always).

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But it was all good now. It was all fucking good.

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History books will probably put the emphasis on the Vagina / Pussy / Cunt Lectures as the real catalyst. But for Joseph, it was the spanking he received at age six.

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He’d yelled “shit” when he dropped a plate of spaghetti and meatballs on the flawless white carpet. Red seemed to stain the world. But they’d told him that the problem was “that word” – “that word” is not to be used in this household – “that word” is not to be used anywhere – “that word” is a meaningless word that people shouldn’t say – only bad people say “that word” or “those kinds of words…”

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And that did it. What other words were there? He had to know.

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An ancient dictionary showed him the slang that had already dropped out of political correctness.

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He understood Nigger and Wop and Gook and Spic. At least these had cultural references, points in history that could link to a story, a time, when everything was not okay with the world. When people hated other people and used language as machine guns, bombs, nuclear explosions.

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But what about shit and damn and hell and fuck and fucker and mother-fucker and son-of-a-bitch and cunt and pussy and dick and cock and prick and bastard

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&

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&

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&

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etc…

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But Goddamn became his moniker. His calling-card. His Bat symbol.

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This was the word that really seemed to get under people’s collective skin. There were a few who accepted it as harmless, but the rest cringed, mind-puked, at the simple thought of it. So Joseph, at the tender age of ten, started sprinkling his phrases with it.

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“This Goddamn show is the best Goddamn on I’ve seen in a long time. Goddamn it was good. Goddamn Goddamn Goddamn.”

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If sprinkling means “as many stars as are in the sky.”

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And he was punished (oh yes) and severely. It went from spankings to soap appetizers to public humiliations. But this was the thing that really turned it all around. Joseph learned then and there that words were machine guns and bombs and nuclear explosions. ALL words were machine guns and bombs and nuclear explosions. But it ALL depended on how you phrased them, which words you emphaSIZEd, and (more importantly) (MOST importantly) it depended on society’s approval or disapproval.

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The collective thumbs up or thumbs down.

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DISapproved: “Goddamn Goddamn Goddamn”

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ApPROVEd: “You are a nightly little boy! I can’t believe you have a mouth like that! Your mother would be so ashamed of you if she knew you said that! Don’t you feel bad about hurting your mother like that? Don’t you feel bad about being such a naughty and mean little boy? I am very disappointed in you. Very, very disappointed. I just don’t know what to do with a boy like you. I am so, so very ashamed.”

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And Joseph’s first real proof came during a high school speech class. He was trying to explain this theory. He was trying to connect the Smith and Wesson to Verbs and Nouns. He explained it like this:

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How do you feel when I say this?

Love is a power of unimaginable strength. It pulls at our beings. Tug of war with souls. Pawing hands on hands. Love is something we will discover over and over and over – looking into a beloved’s eyes. Feeling a soul pulling at your own with unimaginable strength.

And how do you feel when I say this?

In American History class you will learn about Democracy and its components. And you will see the Presidential election as it exists today – electing leaders that are worthy of a system tried and tested by decades of voters within the very system itself.

And, now, this?

I did a bad thing. I put my sister in a blender. And when I pushed the button, her brain looked like malted milk. Mom and Dad are still made. And this straight jacket is getting tighter and tighter and tighter.

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Joseph nearly flunked speech class. His points for eye-contact, posture, and general charisma forced a D from the teacher.

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It’s hard to flunk a smooth-talker.

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Fucking – A Right.

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But college was no good for little Joseph either. His Goddamns plagued every application form and every necessary essay. They were a force of habit by now and they meant nothing more to him than ifs, ands, buts, or butts.

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But this was the point.

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Point 1 to be exact.

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So the Vagina / Pussy / Cunt Lectures began in earnest.

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The first was in his parents’ garage. The second was in a random church (sacrilege!) basement. The third was paid for by the Society Against Cultural Norms and was a mediocre success (oxymoron!). From there it built and built and built (oh shit!).

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And people became convinced.

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Slowly and surely people turned over to Joseph’s way of thinking.

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A new way of thinking.

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A semi–crumbling of taboo borders.

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Mass crowds started to learn that only we put barriers on language. So only we can decide to break them down.

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Fucking – A Right.

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Sure, people picketed. Protested. Wrote hate mail. Signed petitions. Why not? Offending was a necessary part of the theory. To offend was to demonstrate. Without the offense why worry about changing any it?

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One picket sign read: “No Joseph – Goddamn You!”

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Case in point.

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On the cover of Newsweek was a picture of Joseph smiling at that particular sign. Next to it was the lead-in for a story about the origins of the word “shit.”

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They put it in quotes, but they put it in.

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Nonetheless.

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Nonetheless.

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So Joseph became a studier of words as it were. A changer of language. An alphabet rapist. And he became an Honorary Doctor. And he became a full-time lecturer and teacher.

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He became (first) a national villain (second) a national spectacle (third) a national rebel (fourth) a national hero (fifth) a part of fucking history.

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So now fuck means and and most people really don’t care. Powerless is the fucking fucker fuck.

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Joseph Rudy and the Incredible Goddamns.

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A billboard proclaims: “Join the Gap for their Fucking Anniversary! Free Shit! No Shit!”

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And the wind whistles against Joseph’s car as it tools down the interstate.

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But fucking Chevrolet is going to send him some free shit (they said) and he hopes it’ll be a big prick with wheels (maybe even a Mother-Fucker 9 with the new sixth gear)

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He gets all the good shit now.

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He’s a big shot.

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He signs autographs on love letters and hate mail.

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It’s all the same anyway – just phrased and emphasized to each his own.

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Same shit, different day.

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And that’s the Goddamn, mother-fucking, shit-eating, ass-faced end.


J.A. Tyler resides in Colorado. His work has appeared in The Crucible, Slow Trains Literary Journal, and The Writers Post.

 

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