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When I was a kid comics were not comix and only a Goober read them when he was grown up. They had yet to become the graphic novels taken seriously by any student of pop culture.

It was a more child-friendly era and so comics were governed by a “code” that eliminated overt swearing. I would not defend this as entirely effective or morally vital, but I will defend its use in my case.

I grew up in the kind of house where swearing was not a sin, but nobody did it. It was “crude” talk . . . and a sign of boorish manners. It is easy enough to learn to swear, but in that era there was little or none of it on television. I went to public school up to the first part of seventh, but my friends did not use “bad words” very often.

Comics in that Stan Lee era would often contain the phrase, “What the . . . ” Mockery is easy regarding such dodges, but it protected a sort of innocence in me. I had no idea what come next . . . “What ‘What the . . ‘?” I wondered, but I never knew.

There was little harm in that and much good. It is easy enough to learn “bad” words, but being innocent of them was a pleasant time in my life.

The dark side of life came soon enough. I learned about troubles my friends faced and my own actions harmed my soul, but there was a time when the worst thing I could imagine was saying the “sh” word in school.

No great idea here or profound philosophical musings . . . just sorry that it is harder to live such a sheltered life than it used to be. Of course I know people too sheltered, as parents have withdrawn too far from society to compensate for degrading stuff, but I lived in a time when you could be mainstream and not hear much course talk.

I am thankful to my parents for that golden time and am sorry it was so hard a gift to give to my children.

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