50 F*CKS given Writing Project
A defense of giving a f*ck in times of apathy and grief
50 FUCKS given is a writing project that counters apathy and seclusion through humorous connection. In exploring variations of the word fuck for 50 days, I act in opposition to the expression, “no fucks given.”
This project is a recognition of grief for my friend's suicide. My motivation is to honor his life and sense of humor with a play on profane words. My goal is to highlight the jumble of humanity, culture, and mental health.
Why a project about the word fuck?
I frequently use profanity, particularly the word "fuck," in various situations, not always appropriate ones, I’ll admit. Fuck is a versatile word. It can be used to express a wide range of emotions, including: happiness, sadness, surprise, confusion, anger, and defeat.
As a writer, I appreciate fuck’s flexibility. It is an excellent word with epic use.
As a human, fuck is often the most appropriate word to describe modern situations and experiences, especially difficult ones.
I’ve noticed that my energy and care for many things has dwindled as we continue to endure worsening conditions in a nation constantly at odds with itself. It feels like the situation is never-ending, much like a bad movie that just keeps dragging on. It's almost as if our reality is a poorly made, third installment of a movie series, like The Godfather Part III. The longer it continues, the worse the plot gets.
I suspect that many others feel the same, also running low on a supply of concern and attention to give. Running on empty doesn’t lead to good results.
The CDC confirmed that for every victim of violent homicide in 2021, there were nearly two suicides. This means that in the United States, people are killing themselves at almost twice the rate of those being killed by others.
The United States doesn’t have a shortage of violent crime homicides. Having lived in New Orleans for the past several years, a city known for homicide as much as celebrations, I can confirm violence is getting worse. And because I worked in the Mayor’s Executive Office this past summer, I can also confirm very little is being done to improve conditions.
Coroners across the country are historically busy dealing with pandemic, murder, and suicide deaths—which is not normal, or a goal for quality of living in the 21st century. We are all well aware that the current state of our nation, and world, is not good. With issues like corruption, inflation, conflict, poverty, destruction, and violence on the rise, hopelessness is rapidly increasing.
48,023 Americans ended their life in 2021.
My friend, Jon, was one of them.
Why is it that if you found just under $50K in cash on the sidewalk, it would be a big deal, but when the same amount represents human lives, it suddenly becomes a small, insignificant number?
The CDC has made it clear that suicide is a leading national health crisis, yet our elected officials continue to devalue the worth of human lives. Despite the ongoing death toll caused by crisis after crisis, there is a lack of willingness to fund solutions that address social needs. We are currently in a time period of historical mess. Why do we allow this to happen?
Christmas Eve 2022 was the first anniversary of Jon's death. Those in power view him simply as a statistic, easily ignored among the many others. But to those who knew him, Jon's death was a loud and powerful message about the state of our society, nation, and the priorities we desperately need to work on.
His death on a holiday meant to be about connection and joy is a tragic reminder of the cultural moral failings and societal injustices that exist every day.
Given the daily struggles and seemingly constant negativity, it is understandable to prioritize one's own life and not worry too much about external issues, or the lives of strangers. In a world that seems hellbent on self-destruction and creating fresh means of cruelty, it’s perfectly reasonable to have few fucks to give. Living, and caring, is fucking exhausting.
Even though I may not have many fucks left, I believe sharing what few I have might create a sense of connection, and bring some laughter and joy into your life. I desire a world where people are more caring and empathetic towards others, and where there is a greater willingness to offer support and understanding. At the very least, a shared laugh. I’m willing to give the few fucks that I have left in the hope of promoting a more positive and compassionate society.
I want a world that has more fucks to give.
The best place to start is with myself. And there’s no more apt way to keep this goal in focus than by using literal fucks. Perhaps after 50 days, my supply of "fucks to give" will be replenished. Maybe yours will, too. It’s uncertain, but I am curious to see how this project fucking ends.
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