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I wish I could start this column with a big bold screaming of the word.

I could see the letters to the editor now, restating that I am immoral and arrogant. It's truly a columnist's dream.

It's that word. It's the best word and the worst word. It's the word that makes old people gasp in horror.

We'll call it the "f"-word, and it packs a powerful punch. So powerful, that I won't even be able to say it throughout this whole column — it's like Voldemort from "Harry Potter." We can step around it, but I'll never be able to get that attention-grabbing headline that demands you to read this article.

This particular column was in the making years ago without my knowledge. At a family dinner while my dear uncle was in town, the topic of the "f"-word came up. Getting more than two Caldwells at a table at any given time is a bad idea in itself, but getting the two most opinionated Caldwells in a debate about a word is a war.

I wasn't going to back down from this one.

My uncle, who loves to play devil's advocate, refused to admit that the "f"-word held power. To a certain degree, he's right. When you hear the word coming from one person's mouth consistently, it becomes desensitized. Coming from the right person though, "F" can cause an uproar. I was out to prove that.

So out it came, in my high pitched, semi-nasal, young feminine voice. As wimpy and pathetic as it sounded coming from a little white girl from Gilbert, it had to be said.


Needless to say, I won that argument, as the entire family shook their head at me. Victory was mine.

I say the word more often than my family will ever know. After all, it's just a word, and it only has the power you give to it.

The real beauty of "f" is that it can mean everything, but at the same time, mean nothing at all.

It can be an adjective. It can express anger, sadness, shock and really any of the bad emotions. Sometimes, no other word can fully envelop the emotion you're trying to express.

It can be a verb too — if you're lucky.

It can make your grandmother think you're vile, and it can make the big kids think you're cool.

It's the curse word of all curse words. To think, of all of the words in the English vocabulary, this little four-letter word is the worst thing we can say, when it means absolutely nothing. That just seems silly.

"F" is so forbidden, in fact, that it's spawned many imitators. Among them, the word "frick," which doesn't feel nearly as good to say. "Eff" feels better than "frick," but it can also receive mixed reaction around Grannie and Pop Pop.

Nothing feels nearly as good as a quality "f."

In my sophomore year poetry class, we were told to write a list of words we liked and use them all in a poem. Countless students used "f" simply because they could. I think my whole poem would have just been several stanzas of "f's" if there wasn't a grade at risk. Instead, I wrote a poem about Dick Cheney, American flag bikinis and eagle skull salsa bowls … you know, the standard.

So please, if you're one of those uptight "f" haters, just give the word a try for yourself. See how it feels in your mouth. Give "f" a chance.

Double entendres are funny.

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