There is an article making the rounds that purports to prove that those who regularly employ Cuss words have a better vocabulary than those that do not cuss. I’m not sure that I buy that. I have heard some people cuss who really shouldn’t because they are not very good at it. On the other hand I have run across some that sling profanity with such passion, imagination, and inventiveness that you’d swear one of their tirades should rank up there with the Gettysburg Address.
I don’t have a problem with profanity when it is employed with a specific intent. On several occasions I have tried, “Drop that gun” with unsatisfactory results. The follow up commend, “Motherfucker drop the fuckin’ gun”was much more satisfactory. Same request phrased slightly differently, two different results.
One of our bread and butter operations at the narcotics task force was what is called a buy/bust. An undercover arranges to purchase a quantity of drugs from a crook and during the transaction, once the undercover sees dope, gives the bust signal. The conversation is monitored and since a hard wire would be difficult to conceal this means some type of radio signal. There are certain words that the FCC has deemed shall never sully the airwaves. (See George Carlin).
The undercover officer has two things to do in a buy/bust, give the prearranged signal and keep the crook thinking of Cadillacs and blowjobs once the signal is given. This is to give a small circle of the undercover’s friends time to converge on the location and piss on the crook’s Post Toasties. Effect the arrest if you prefer. It is helpful if the bust signal fits into the context of the overall situation. Number one on the all time hit parade was, at the time,”it looks like good shit.”
The frequency that the bust signal was broadcast on was a back, back channel. All of the small Police departments used the same vendor for the radio equipment. The vendor threw in the back back channel for free. This was not a licensed frequency for any of the police departments and was not used for normal operations. But it was common to them all.
The Boss was contacted by an Administrative Lieutenant of a police department that did not participate in the task force. This sanctimonious prick was complaining about the use of profanity being broadcast over the police radio. The Boss came charging in at roll call and forever more, “Looks like good shit” was banned from the lexicon. Satisfied that his duty was done, the boss left.
The troops looked at me, I was running things day to day. I told them I had two things to add, #1 nobody got any G-money (money to buy dope, pay snitches, or other expenses) unless and until they put together a buy/bust in that Lieutenant’s area of operations. #2 “Looks like good shit” was an unacceptable bust signal. however, “Looks like bitchin stuff,” “Motherfucken good shit,” “get the fuckoutta here” or variations on that theme were acceptable.
Pretty soon we were dragging crooks forty miles across San Antonio just do deals in that city. Some of the bust signals were poetic in the the use of profanity. Four days into the operation the police chief called and apologized for his Lieutenant and assured us he had learned his lesson.
The Lieutenant left law enforcement shortly afterwards, in handcuffs, to explain to the FBI his side business of selling information gleaned from restricted law enforcement databases.