So my parents visited Bovey and me in Pittsburgh this summer and the four of us are driving down this country road listening to Mumford & Sons.
I’m thinking to myself, I’ll introduce Mom and Dad to some new music, show them how hip I am, as if parents think of their children as hip.
I’m feeling proud as we listen to Marcus Mumford belt out the song, Broken Crown.
I tell Mom and Dad how progressive this band is, how they fuse Bluegrass and rock, making a unique sound, and then Marcus drops the f-bomb.
I’ve listened to this tune a billion times and the f-bomb never bothered me. I completely forgot there was even one in it at all.
It’s only when I listen with my parents that I become acutely aware, like someone dropped a banjo on my head and said, “Look idiot, there’s an f-bomb in this song.”
It’s not like Dave and Zola never heard the f-bomb. I think my dad’s even dropped one or two, although I’m not positive about this. Funny how memory works.
If he did, it was probably over something stupid like smashing his thumb with a hammer or hooking a five iron out of bounds.
My mom though, I’m sure I never heard her drop one. You’d have to rile my mother to within an inch of committing homicide before she might let a shit or a damn slip, but I’m certain I never heard her say the big one.
Lord knows I’m no stranger to the big one, but I’d rather twist my own fingers out of their sockets than let one fly in front of my parents.
Anyway, so we’re driving along and I’m thinking Dave and Zola must believe their son’s grown into some kind of heathen. I hope they don’t notice, and try to start a conversation, “Hey, did you know the Pirates might have their first winning season in twenty years?”
Inside I’m dying but I can’t tell if my parents are bothered. They’re not the type to tell me to turn off the music or lecture me about manners.
Why is it though, that no matter what your age, as soon as you’re in the same room with your parents you feel fourteen again, young and stupid and awkward and lost?
And then the coup de gras. In this Mumford song near the end, the music stops and Marcus spits out the last verse, speaking slowly, driving home every syllable, so when he hits the f-bomb here, it sounds like a three story pile driver smashing into bedrock.
As soon as the song ends I immediately switch to another album. I’m doing this while driving and it’s not like I remember all the songs that have the f-bomb.
So wouldn’t you know, I next play Amy Winehouse’s Me and Mr. Jones. It’s barely started when she drops the first f-bomb. Of course, those Brits have a way of elevating the f-bomb to proper, everyday speech, but for me it’s another dagger in my ear.
Here we go. As I’m driving along taking another beating, I think to myself, f*%k! f*%k! f*%k! They ought to invent a rating system to help guys like me, a system to warn grown children about profane language in music, and that if you want to maintain what little dignity you have left, avoid playing this f*%cking song in the presence of your parents.