Seeing traffic on the 405 North backed up after school pick-up, I opted for the Sepulveda alternative. The woman putting on mascara in the car alongside us, blindly moved in the same direction and cut me off. “Fuck” I said, as I hit the brakes to avoid impact. The words, “Dad, you said the ‘F’ word!” were delivered in an authoritarian manner from the back seat. I squirmed and apologized like any good parent. Enjoying my discomfort, my son smiled and said “Dad, seriously, I’m kidding, I hear it all the time.” I thought about the indiscriminate power given to words through socialization and its profound effects. We teach, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” but they often do.
In that instant, I had an “F word” flashback. As a young teen, my younger brother exhibited rebelliousness in its highest form. One night’s vivid