by Ron Singer
With the advent of chip implants, it seemed only nanoseconds before cell phones skiddooed, BlackBerries bombed, and so on. We all continued to walk around apparently talking to ourselves, but now that we were stripped of mechanical pretext, it became even harder to identify the truly delusional. You really had to watch your back.
One thing led to another, which led to a speech by the Mayor of —-, a.k.a. Cheerleader-in-Chief, a.k.a. Pom-Pom Boy, (fill in name).
‘I’m sure,’ he began, ‘that you have all heard the damaging expression, “—- is the a** h**e of the world.” ‘ Part of the problem is that we, ourselves, are notorious for the use of such language. Well, it’s time to do something about it. I hereby decree an exciting new program that will end our reign as obscenity capital of the world.
‘Starting on (fill in date), all citizens old enough to curse will be required to undergo a mandatory, complimentary, painless and completely safe implant of a new chip, already under development, known as the Impolite Language Filter, or ILF ™. And best of all, perhaps, where will every single ILF be manufactured? Of course! Hooray!’
Despite rumors that he had accepted a six-figure sweetener from ILF, Inc., the mayor’s audacious plan was quickly rubber-stamped by the quiescent City Council, lulled beyond even their usual torpor by the boss’s blandishments about ‘homeland decency,’ ‘civic pride,’ and the rest of the usual sh*t. Had the councilors also been sweetened? Again, rumor.
The triumph of ILF was trumpeted by the tabloids.
The Gazette: HIZZONER TO PROLES: ‘WATCH YOUR FUC*ING LANGUAGE.’
The Star: ‘OKAY, BOYS, TIME TO CUT THE CRAP!’
As for the storied Herald, they predictably resorted to condescending pontifical waffle. ‘Score another one for Mayor (Name), who never ceases to amaze. And who can say, maybe he’s right this time, when he argues that the benefits to moral tone which, let’s face it, is a key element of our fair city’s quality of life, may outweigh any possible infringement of First Amendment rights.’
Initial reactions on the street were also predictable. There were thousands of shouts, adequately summed up as, ‘Fuc* that sh*t!’ But the mayor pushed ahead, and soon obscenity scofflaws, harried and outnumbered, were driven to pursue their unreconstructed colloquies in the dark corners of bars, toilet stalls, etc. – in short, in all the usual private, insalubrious places.
Understandably, many —-ers expressed fears that their counterparts from other cities would take advantage.’Every fuc*in’ dic*head,’ commented a chippy (but unchipped) young Graeco-Irish-American construction worker (also Jewish and Latino), as he ate lunch on a job site, ‘from fuc*in’ —-, fuc*in’ —-, and fuc*in’ —-will be laughin’ their fuc*in’ heads off. What the fuc*!’ And he added the generic, ‘Fuc* that sh*t.’
‘What kind of jack sh*t this supposed to be?’ echoed a normally law-abiding middle-aged African-American postal worker, as she was getting her hair permed at a local emporium. She, too, added the generic malediction.
‘Fuc*in’ Pom Pom Boy finally shot his wad out the kazoo,’ suggested an unchipped pale male hipster with multiple piercings.
‘He must be fuc*in’ brain-dead,’ added his girl friend. ‘He’s been suckin’ the municipal bong too long.’
In fact, ‘Brain Dead’ became the mayoral sobriquet of choice. And ‘chipped’ replaced the myriad of terms for mental incompetence, including, especially, ‘cracked’.
Months passed. In the fancier neighborhoods, only trace memories remained, supplemented by ingenious new euphemisms that seemed to sprout up like erect penises.
‘The diaper prices are so flooping high,’ commented one pram pusher to another as they charged up the Avenue.
‘Tell me,’ replied her counterpart. ‘Gosh darn, isn’t inflation the poo!’
‘Tomorrow, the nation,’ quipped the jovial mayor, ‘the day after tomorrow, the world. Imagine what the Martians will say.’
‘Beep beep,’ the Martians said. But that’s what they always said. (And not ‘bleep bleep’.)
Silk-stocking types thought the outrage among the plebs was a scream.
‘They would,’ riposted an unchipped Transit Authority pensioner in a bar. ‘Those fuc*ing hoity-toity a** h**es!’
A celebrated Cultural Anthropology Professor at —- College cleaned up on the law by whipping up a spicy lecture in which he outlined ‘the movement from ritual, to myth and dirty joke, to … nothing.’ Once word got out that the lecture included the ‘f-word,’ his classroom was SRO, although, in fact, he only uttered the word (forty-seven times) in order to deconstruct it.
After a year of bland misery, the people took things into their own hands. A cottage industry sprang up in which abortionist types in dingy basements across the city removed the chips the same way they had been implanted, through the ear. The fee was nominal; the motto, ‘pro fuc*ing bono.’
‘Free, at last!’ was the most common post-operative expression of relief – often without even an expletive. When half the population of —- had undergone the procedure, and, coincidentally, when Election Day was fast approaching, Mayor (Name) finally gave in.
‘The Vox Populi has spoken,’ he gracefully admitted. ‘And what the fuc*,’ quipped the good sport, ‘you win some, you lose some. Just like, ahem, elections?’
A few days after the predictable results were in, a new bill repealed the old, and, predictably, there followed a perfect sh*t storm of obscenity. Things, that is, returned to fuc*ing normal.
– Satire by Ron Singer (www.ronsinger.net) has appeared in many publications (The Brooklyn Rail, diagram, Evergreen Review, Mad Hatter’s Review, Word Riot, etc.), and he has published several books. In 2010-11, he made three trips to Africa for Uhuru Revisited: Interviews with Pro-Democracy Leaders (forthcoming). His serial thriller, Geistmann, and his serial farce, The Parents We Deserve, are both available at jukepopserials.com. His work has twice been nominated for Pushcart Prizes.