I wanted to follow you but, uh, no.

My wise old grandmother

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Unknown flowerDear New Follower:

First, let me thank you for following me. I appreciate it.

Now for the more serious stuff….

I decided that I could not follow you. Please, let me explain.

I’m an easygoing Southern boy born and raised in Texas. My paternal grandparents adopted me when I was a couple of months shy of 11. I understand profanity…. four-letter words.

Angel's trumpetMy granddad used them as verbs, adverbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, prepositions, conjunctions, interjections, abbreviations, exclamations, questions, complete sentences, incomplete sentences, names of people….

My wise old grandmother, on the other hand, let granddad use enough profanity for both of them. I only heard my wise old grandmother use profanity once. She wouldn’t let me do something that I wanted to do. I was furious and said, “God damn you.” She was only 5’1″ and I was a towering 6’3″. She took me down with a good right that would make Muhammad Ali proud. Then she said softly, “Don’t damn me, damn you.”

Unknown flower[Make note because this will probably be the only time you ever see profanity in my blog.]

She let me cry for five minutes, as she always did when I was punished, always with a whipping, though, never before with a right hook.

[Do parents spank their children anymore, or is that child abuse?]

Then she took me to the bathroom, drew some warm water, wet a washrag, and cleaned my face of the salty tears, dried me, and told me she loved me. She also told me what would happen the next time I used profanity or the Lord’s name in vain.

Aloe growing in La Mesa, California, January 24, 2012Love and discipline.

[Do parents discipline their children anymore, or just give them an iPod or iPad?]

So, dear New Follower, I wanted to follow you, I really did. My wise old grandmother taught me to do unto others as they have already done unto me…. Wait! No she didn’t. I taught me that. You followed me so I was going to follow you.

When I got to your blog, though, I found that the title was an absolutely horrible title and I left immediately without even looking around. I felt bad about that, so I returned just a few minutes later. I read your home page and one post. It was no better. I left again, and I won’t be returning.

I’m sorry. I really am, but I simply cannot bring myself to follow you. Every time you publish a new post, I would get an email telling me that “New Follower with a poor choice of words for the blog name” has a new post. I already saw that the titles of your posts are just as bad as the name of your blog.

PassionflowerI consider your choice of words to be very negative, and I’ve already had enough negative people in my life. At the age of 57, I surround myself only with positive people.

My wise old grandmother taught me the beauty of the English language with its million words. She also taught me how cruel, mean, and nasty abuse of the English language can be.

I prefer beauty.

Aesop, the ancient storyteller, told this fable:

Daffodil in La Mesa, California, on January 23, 2012Once upon a time, a donkey found a lion’s skin. He tried it on, strutted around, and frightened many animals. Soon a fox came along, and the donkey tried to scare him, too. But the fox, hearing the donkey’s voice, said, “If you want to terrify me, you’ll have to disguise your bray.”

Moral: Clothes may disguise a fool but his words give him away.

Said another way: Profanity is a public announcement of stupidity.

Unknown flower in La Mesa, California, on January 23, 2012Those might sound cruel and uncaring, but you appear to be young. Not like teaching an old dog new tricks. You have a choice. I would encourage you to be beautiful. Maybe too many people have already told you that. Let me in line.

I don’t know anything about you, but I think you have the potential to be a very beautiful person. I believe that about everyone on Earth, all seven billion of them. It’s potential, though. What you do with that potential is up to you.

Every time you want to use profanity, stop and think of a better way to say what you want to say. There are over a million words in the English language, and there are dictionaries and thesaureses to help you in your struggle.

Giant hibiscus and guestMaybe some of my favorite four-letter words can help in your struggle:

  1. Love
  2. Free
  3. Help
  4. Pray
  5. Give
  6. Work
  7. Good
  8. Best
  9. Save
  10. Purple irisHope
  11. Nice
  12. Kind
  13. Glad
  14. Live
  15. Life
  16. Glow
  17. Amen
  18. True
  19. Luck
  20. Purple flowerGift
  21. Calm
  22. Holy
  23. Cure
  24. Kiss
  25. Hugs

If you’re reading this, let me know if you change the name of your blog and perhaps I’ll give it another shot at following you. Until then, good luck in finding your place in the world. I hope you find it because I can see that you are searching.

I want only the best for you, and I apologize if I appear to be judgmental. I simply wanted to let you know why I chose not to follow you. We all have to make our choices, and I hope you’ll choose to be like the unopened flower bud and use your potential in a more positive way. The reach of the Internet allows us to influence many people, but that can be good or bad, depending on you and only you.

Best wishes for health, happiness, peace, and prosperity.

Unknown flower in La Mesa, California, on January 23, 2012

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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85 thoughts on “I wanted to follow you but, uh, no.

  1. rich

    i have a tendency to follow anyone who follows me, provided their site isn’t all about hate. i’ve had that happen a few times. i go to their blog and it’s all racist hateful stuff.

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      That happened to me one time. I was browsing WordPress and came across a blog name that sounded interesting. Unfortunately, everything in the blog was just mean, racist, hateful, anti everything except the good old white anglo-saxon protestant that the German Nazis were looking form.

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  2. mybeautfulthings

    Good point, nicely made. I too love your list of four letter words and I love how you encourage your new follower to look for beautiful things in life.
    My lovely Dad was not unlike your wise old Grandmother in that I only once heard him swear and that was the word you and your Grandmother used. He was a teacher then a writer and always chose his words well. My maiden name was Wiseman, which always seemed the perfect name for him.
    All the best to you
    🙂

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      Life can get pretty ugly at times, but that ugliness usually comes from people. God/Higher Power/Mother and Father Nature/Whomever have a lot of beauty to share that can overwhelm that ugliness.

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  3. avian101

    This is why my blog welcomes you to camp any time you wish to do it! Thank you for honoring your Grandmother (Mom) She must be smiling now! 🙂

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  4. theforgottenwife

    I will honestly do this sometimes, but I try not to. I’ll admit, there are a couple of early posts that are laced with it, but that’s not who I am anymore. Thank you for this wonderful post. Well done and point taken.

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  5. Margie

    I agree with your comments. I don’t follow a blog unless the message is delivered well and the pictures are at the very least properly attributed.

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  6. seapunk2

    I don’t lace my posts with expletives, though I have used some or symbols that act as if they’re expletives. I only do this in my humorous posts.
    Having lived as a kid with a mother who constantly used the F word, like butter on toast, I would never bring anyone into the house, and that was only ONE reason why not. It was a true embarrassment to me. Many “family” members are still coarse and vulgar, and though my mother has a master’s degree, she still slings that ol’ familiar F word around freely, outside of her job. It’s very strange.
    I hope you don’t stop following me if you see a word of any numbers of letters that you don’t like. I enjoy your company.
    I do get it, though.
    I don’t automatically follow someone and have dumped many, as I’m more interested in REAL readers than box clickers.

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      1. seapunk2

        Please do! As you know, there are many ways to “like” someone’s post, and most don’t include actually reading it. The only way to know if even SOME of it was read, is getting a comment on something that’s buried deep inside the post.
        I would definitely post that on every one of my pages… 🙂

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        1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

          However, there are people who will skip to the end of the post and read the last couple of paragraphs and comment on that. Proof that they read all the way to the end! Oh, the games that we adults play. Children don’t have anything on us! lol

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          1. seapunk2

            Yes, unfortunately, that’s true. I wish more people would read or not read. Ordinary people are capable of writing or sharing extraordinary ideas and thoughts. It makes me sad sometimes – the good intentions, the hypocrisy, lies. Ooohhh. Am I in a strange mood… Must have hit a nerve.
            Children are much easier to “read.” Their brains aren’t fully developed, so I excuse and hopefully guide them through the error of their ways. Adults just build walls.
            Here’s something – I know when a person likes my post that took me three or four hours to write, and it’s not five sentences – that they didn’t read it. I post it at, say 3:45 pm and they “like” it at 3:46 pm. What a crock. Wait, is that bad? 🙂 Or maybe the person isn’t smart enough to look at the time posted, in their Reader. Ha.

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            1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

              Funny. A few weeks ago I was up in the wee hours of the morning and one of the people I follow published a new post. I went over there and by the time I got there, just a minute or two later, he already had 249 likes! I was amazed, and that’s when I started wondering if there was a WordPress store where one could buy likes and comments.

              When I researched a little further, I found that he had a few billion followers, so a mere 249 likes in one minute was kind of a poor showing. lol

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              1. seapunk2

                That’s funny! Obviously, unless it was one sentence or two, 249 people patronized him by giving it a “like.” It’s like knocking on the door and running away. HA HA HA, I think this is hilarious! 😀 😀

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                1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

                  I could see it if it was just a picture, as many blog posts are, but no. It took me a few minutes to read it before I liked it.

                  I’m thinking that there’s a Knock Knock joke in there somewhere!

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  7. grosenberg

    Your list of four letter words is awesome!!! There are so many great words to use in the english language that using the few that provoke shock or increased negativity consistently just limits….

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  8. apb148

    Your grandparents sound like my wife and I in reverse. My wife has the mouth, and I’ve never seen any reason for any.

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  9. artzent

    Gosh, someone must have really made you angry. I like your post or I would not be here. If you never look at mine I will not lose any sleep over it. I think that is the way most bloggers feel! I also think that most bloggers work hard at their post and do their best. Sorry that you feel the need to blast-not a curse word- them.

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      Not angry, just sad that more people don’t understand how beautiful English is. I don’t know whether it’s our education system or something else.

      Do you really think I blasted them?

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      1. artzent

        Yes, You have a inportant presence here and many value your opinion. The nuwbees especially. You are in a position to help teach them. That’s a great place to be. I am a mother of six and a teacher but I cannot stop mothering so I pushed you a little bit just as I would one of my kids. Hope that I did not make you feel bad because I really love 99% of your post. Don’t block me please!

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      2. marcusampe

        As with many languages, the people supposed to use them to communicate are not so much interested in their own mother-tongue. Many youngsters are also not interested to read the classics. Foreign language writers are even placed more in the corner.
        Even long blogarticles are not popular; Today everything has to be short and nearly telegram style. (Perhaps to difficult for me.) Articles going deep into a subject are not often read and are not so popular as the chit-chat, soap news articles.
        But please let us keep enjoying beautiful languages as Italian, French and English. Though Dutch may sound double Dutch for many it can have also its nice features, certainly when the old sayings are used and Yiddish words are brought into it.
        Good that we can find several blogs which can offer us some food of thought in their juicy language.
        Thanks.

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  10. SimplySage

    Kudos to you! Same for me as I’ve gotten a few. Here’s my quote on it, which will find it’s way to a post, mine or yours! “Profanity is the linguistical crutch of the inarticulate.” Unknown.
    Peace,
    Alexandria

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  11. daphneshadows

    Very cool that you posted why you didn’t follow their blog! I feel all guilty when I don’t follow someone who follows me. But if they’re too crude for my taste I just can’t bring myself to end up with their posts. I have to say I’m pretty tolerant seeing as how I have friends from many different walks of life, but I’ve never found myself becoming friends with anyone who’s out loud thoughts (that should have remained thoughts) make me want to cringe. Some things, we just really DON’T need to know. And there is such a thing as tact and respect.
    And don’t even get me started on parents who don’t discipline their children! Obviously beating them is not okay. But spanking your child is NOT abuse. Also, teaching them manners, common sense, and respect would be nice.

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      I took an instant disliking to Facebook when a friend of a friend posted that he was “Facebooking from the men’s stall at Pizza Hut.” No. Not necessary. I unfriended the friend.

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  12. simplyeclecticlife

    There is a chance that this same blogger followed me & I attempted to follow them in return but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Either that or there’s more than one out there (which is probably the more likely of the 2).
    I admit, I’m not void of swear words but I make a conscious effort to publish things on my blog (or any public forum) that I would be proud to have my grandmother read; rather than fearful that she’ll see it and think less of me.
    Well said…I enjoyed your post!

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  13. WalkingwithBullu

    Loved this post, so witty!! I love the line where you say, ” Do parents discipline their children anymore, or just give them an iPod or iPad”?
    I have personally seen a few examples of this 🙂

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  14. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words

    wonderful expressions of positive…
    and I love ALL the flower photos!
    they blended together for the New Moon…new beginnings
    and Summer Soltice….the longest day of light!
    Take Care….
    )0(
    maryrose

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  15. Smaktakula

    In defense of profanity (playing the devil’s foul-mouthed advocate, as it were), although my mom used to tell me that cursing was the sign of a poor vocabulary, I disagree. Your vocabulary grows with every new swear you learn!

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  16. Eleenie

    Good post. I’m getting some dodgy followers now, I wouldn’t dream of following them as their blogs are full of bad language and just total rubbish to be honest. I would be happier if they didn’t follow me but hey ho.

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  17. From a Montana Front Porch

    My mother taught us that using bad language shows a lack of imagination. This post was wonderful and truthful and I loved every word! Your grandma was awesome and reminds me of my grandma who punched my dad the one time he told her to shut up. He never did it again! 🙂

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  18. sunshinemac

    Well said, couldn’t agree with you more. Enjoyed the flowers and list of four letter words too. I was taught your thoughts are your words. We all have choices, ones words represent ones-self. Chose carefully. Chose well.

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  19. AirportsMadeSimple

    I agree, although sometimes I use it in videos, etc…(like Grandma’s finger today). The way I figure it, she’s a wonderful, perfect lady her entire life. At the age of 85 (the lady in the video, a wild guess of age, I’m bad at that), she’s entitled to throwback a little. 🙂 But I do agree with what you’re saying.

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  20. kzackuslheureux

    Now I feel quite flattered to have YOU following me 😉 And I also love you take on my ol’ pal Aesop, “Profanity is a public announcement of your stupidity” So So true! I don’t have the cleanest mouth, it’s like a fungus that keeps coming back and ruining my mouth! Anyway, I read your bit to my teenage kids and visiting niece, they all liked it 🙂 Best ~KL

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  21. tvaraj

    Reblogged this on Impressions and commented:
    I love the way this guy writes…and the questions he poses…

    [Do parents spank their children anymore, or is that child abuse?]

    [Do parents discipline their children anymore, or just give them an iPod or iPad?]

    But please read his post and you will surely agree with me.

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  22. reneeboomer

    Beautiful post! Your Grandmother would be so proud of you. Have a great day. Renee 🙂 Oh, thank you for visiting my blog and all the “likes”.

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  23. Maxi

    It’s as if you were inside my head when you wrote this post, Russel. How wonderful to find someone who likes it clean and isn’t afraid to say so.

    Your grandmother has to be puffed up, lovin’ it.

    Thank you for the friendship, back at ya. Do I have your permission to reblog this post?

    Blessings – Maxi

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  24. Pingback: Alternative four letter words | Marcus' s Space

  25. CallowLea

    Excellent post, and my sentiments, as well:) it is as jarring to read such language as it is to hear it. Your 4-letter words are much better! Thanks for writing this one.

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  26. Connie T

    We are the same age. I love your flower pictures. It makes me sad to read the news now. Everyday people are killing someone just for fun. Kids cuss all the time. Movies say the F word every other sentence. I agree with you.

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  27. Ruth Nina Welsh

    Hi Russel, Thanks so much for popping over to my blog and bringing your blog to my attention – really appreciate that. Just having a look around your fascinating and beautiful site. Saw this article which ‘spoke to me.’ Just brilliant. I will be following you and thanks so much for following me 🙂 I like that you are choosing to follow rather than feeling obliged – I work on the same principle. Off to wander a little more now! All my best to you, Ruth.

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  28. Andrea Kelly

    Well put! There is absolutely no need to surround yourself with negative people – I have actually begun unfollowing people (even though I occasionally feel bad about it) just because I don’t enjoy their negativity showing up on my feed.

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  29. Pingback: “I wanted to follow you but, uh, no …” by Russel Ray « Impressions

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