Bob Bestler

You can be dang sure I watch my mouth in public, especially these days

Cussing will cost you on Myrtle Beach’s Ocean Boulevard

The lewd, obscene and profane language ordinance — a misdemeanor — falls under the city’s disorderly conduct offense. It plainly states a person should not make, utter or direct any lewd, obscene or profane words toward another person.
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The lewd, obscene and profane language ordinance — a misdemeanor — falls under the city’s disorderly conduct offense. It plainly states a person should not make, utter or direct any lewd, obscene or profane words toward another person.

I was at the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Florida, following Dustin Johnson and Billy Horschel with my 10-year-old grandson, Jacob.

On one par-4 hole, Horschel’s drive came to rest near us and we waited to watch him hit to the green.

Horschel’s second shot looked good for a while. The ball arched toward the pin, hit, then rolled cruelly to the bottom of the elevated green.

Horschel, one of the more colorful players on the PGA Tour, uttered a four-letter word and was off.

Jacob and I headed down the cart path for about 30 seconds before he mentioned the elephant on the fairway: “He said a bad word.”

“I know,” I told him. “Your pop-pop does that once in a while, too.”

“Yeah, but not on national television.”

No, never on national television and, I learned recently, I’d better never utter a profanity in Myrtle Beach. It could cost me.

In a recent story in The Sun News, reporter Hannah Strong wrote that Myrtle Beach had issued a total of 269 citations to people who had uttered profanities in public.

Bestler mug
Bob Bestler, a contributing columnist for The Sun News JASON LEE jlee@thesunnews

The citations added $22,161 to the city’s coffers, but the idea was never to get rich off swearing.

Mainly it’s to make certain one person’s words do not incite a conflict with others.

I like the law, as long as it continues to be reasonably enforced. This is a beach town, a place for sometimes outlandish behavior, but as city spokesman Mark Kruea put it: “There is an expectation of a certain amount of propriety in a public place.”

It’s also a golf town and, well, I admit that I occasionally play golf in Myrtle Beach - on a public golf course - and occasionally certain words leave my mouth on the trail of a wayward shot.

It’s usually an involuntary reaction and so far I’m pretty sure no other golfers have been offended. I play with the Grand Strand Swingers, not the Grand Strand Saints.

My profanity has been a learned art. I think it reaches back to my first few days in Marine Corps recruit training. My drill instructor had a wonderfully profane vocabulary and he applied it liberally as he turned us “(expletive) maggots” into Marines.

Well, I can honestly say that even after four years in the Corps I never uttered a profanity in front of Mom - she would have been horrified - or any other relatives. And I do not recall using profanity in public (other than that dreaded golf course).

I once used a slightly more profane word for “dang” in a column, and was chastised for it by a reader. I assured her I’d never use any such word in print again. So far, so good.

So I think I’m home safe as far as this anti-cussing law is concerned, especially at my age. I’m afraid Myrtle Beach will have to look elsewhere to fill its swear jar.

Contact Bob Bestler at bestler6@tds.net.

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