She’s cussing like a sailor over labels



A lthough there are some who will tell you different, I do not have a potty mouth.

As a rule, I refrain from saying bad words, don’t slip curse words into normal conversations, and do my best to follow rules of etiquette when it comes to washyour mouth-out-with-soap words.

It is a tendency that was instilled in me by my dear mother. If that loving soul recounts a conversation that involves curse words, rather than say them she’ll interject a “blankety-blank-blank” or tell how someone called another a “dirty so-and-so.”

That’s a tough act to follow.

I found this to be especially true just last evening when I set out to print envelopes for graduation invitations. “It’s a piece of cake,” I told my co-party planners. “I have Microsoft Works, and it will print them out faster than you can say ‘Look at that son of a gun go!’”

Little did I know that the newer version of Windows that I’d recently installed on my computer doesn’t like Works, Works doesn’t like Windows 7, nor would they play nicely together.

Sadly enough for me, I didn’t discover this little glitch until I’d entered some 163 addresses into Works, edited, and checked the list twice. One could almost imagine my dismay as I hit “print” and Works froze up.

“*&^%!” I called out in the most frustrated of voices.

Not being one to

be easily deterred, I did as any computer guru would do and shut the program down and started over.

A check in a box here, an address there, and I shut my eyes and said a quick prayer before once again hitting print.

Then, and this is where things became fun, the bad-word program froze up again. Once more, not being one to easily throw in the towel, I closed the non-responsive program down (but don’t you want to wait for 10 years for me to respond so you can save your changes? Oh, blank NO!) and started over again. That’s right, I did it not once but three bad-word times.

Having wasted enough time trying to reconcile two programs who apparently had a permanent falling-out (shouldn’t there be some sort of a press release to announce these things?), I bit the bullet and went on to Microsoft’s creative Excel program with all of its lovely cells and formulas.

Sure, you can type an address list ad nauseam. But can you print the dirty so-andso? Well, no! See, you must first perform a mail merge into Microsoft Word from Excel, and although there are brainiacs out there who think this is no problem, I want to know why some (not gonna say it) would develop a program that won’t let you complete your task without a blankety merge.

Just sayin’.

But merge I did, my dear friends. It took nearly an hour, but I got the deed done. Not without cuss words (and my mother would have been appalled,) but I completed a merge. Only to find out (and here is where the bad words flowed freely) the printer thought the envelope size that I entered was wrong (measured that dirty so-and-so five times) and it still wouldn’t print the blankety blanks (aka envelopes).


I paused for a time out and walked around the office. I took in deep breaths, resisted the temptation to head-butt the printer, and calmed myself by saying, “Serenity now.”

Because we all know that’s effective.

Having given it my all, I gave up on the envelopes and decided to go with labels. Sure, that would be a lot more peeling and sticking and grunt labor, but it would be better than dealing with conflicting programs who insist on acting like children.

I loaded the labels, hit print, and although “print preview” showed “<<Address Block>>” in all of the fun little squares, I had no idea that it would actually print “<<Address Block>>” 163 times instead of the actual ADDRESSES!

It took me some time, but I finally got the addresses to print. Naturally, they weren’t aligned, and some cities appeared on the next label above the Mr. and Mrs. instead of where they should be. But with a little cutting and re-sticking, I finally got the dirty so-and-sos done and in the mail.

After all this cussing, my mother may want to put an address label over my mouth. That is, if she can get the blankety blank things to print.

Lori Clinch is the mother of four sons and the author of the book “Are We There Yet?” You can reach her at