Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 


Business is an intense affair.

It invites a certain aggression.

This is especially true in America, where we respect aggression in all things, if not in all peoples of the world.

When a business deal goes wrong, therefore, or when a customer won't pay up, our innate aggression might soar to the surface and even emerge into the open.

A Florida court has decided, however, that the most popular curse word of aggression -- the F-word -- isn't by its nature obscene.

As the Miami Herald swears it, a local roofer named Salomon Susi wanted to encourage a client to pay their bill.

Ergo, he expressed himself in clear terms: "Don't be a f***ing schlub, pay your f***ing bill."

This surely isn't the first time that such language has been used in a stressful business situation.

It might well be the first time that the businessperson who used such words found himself sued for obscenity.

You see, a fine Florida statute states: "No person shall use profane, obscene, vulgar, or willfully abusive language in communicating with the debtor or any member of her or his family."

Rami Shmuely, a consumer protection attorney, insisted that Susi's use of the F-word constituted obscenity.

In some distant pockets of air, George Carlin' ashes begged to be reconstituted.

If they had, they might have even appreciated Susi's lawyer, Richard Wolfe, and his logic: "One man's obscenity is another man's lyric."

Could it be, then, Susi had merely been lyrical in encouraging his client to pay up?

Wolfe explained it like this: "I argued that the F-word is the most unique word in the English language. It can be used as an adjective, a pronoun, a verb -- or what I consider an intensifier. You can 'pay the bill' or 'you can pay the f***ing bill.' All you are doing is slamming your fist down in describing the bill with a little more intensity."

So there you have it. Not only is the F-word legal in your florid and Floridian debtor negotiations. It's actually the most unique word in the English language.

This is verbal prestidigitation of the highest order.

For so long, people have besmirched the F-word as a symbol of crudity, a lack of imagination, as well as of naked aggression.

It has now been elevated to a place where it merely expresses "a little more intensity."

I feel sure that as we come to choose our presidential candidates, one or other challenger may feel the urge to use the F-word to express his or her intensity toward an opponent.

This will surely be the ultimate breakthrough in giving the F-word unequivocal official status.