Maybe you’ve seen it in a tweet. Maybe that tweet was one of mine, maybe it wasn’t. It gets around.
I’m writing, of course, of the hashtag #icmf, which was born of need and spread by joy. If only so I have someplace to point future generations to when they ask me about it, I now tell you the origins of #icmf.
Beware: foul language follows.
There I was, sitting at my computer, composing a tweet and fretting about foul language. How would my followers react if I used the word motherfucker in a tweet? Would they bail on me? Would I get angry replies? Would anyone notice?
Curious, I deleted the tweet I was composing and instead asked the question: Is it all right if I use foul language — like motherfucker — in my tweets? Then I waited for the responses to come in.
A note, here: I’m a big fan of cussing. I’m no Chuck Wendig, but I’m quick to cuss in person. “Well, shit,” I say. “Son of a fucking bitch!” I yell. “That? Yeah, fuck that shit,” I suggest, pointing to a stupid headline, a broken appliance, or the rambling fuckwit in the mirror. Yet, still, I hold certain key words and phrases in reserve, for maximum impact when I do deploy them.
But, yes, I regard a public venue like Twitter differently than I do casually gabbing with friends or strangers in person. So I was eager to hear whether people would be offended by a motherfucker here or there on Twitter.
As I recall it, the response was uniformly positive. Nobody told me they’d bail because of a motherfucker. A couple of people — more than one — said they’d follow me “twice,” if they could. So we were go for motherfuckers.
A problem, though: motherfuckers is 13 characters. That’s not small change on Twitter. What if I wanted to express a complex, 130-character idea and then underline it with a comma and a motherfucker? I needed something compact. I needed… a hashtag.
Thus #icmf was born.
(As I recall, it debuted at Gen Con the Origins Game Fair, where we also used it in dialogue to avoid offending children.)
#icmf stands for “implicit comma motherfucker” or “, motherfucker.” It allows for emphasis without the direct hit of an F-bomb. It offers a bit of winking politeness with a dash of cussy fun. And, like a bleeped-out obscenity, it’s sometimes just more funny. Plus, it has all the fake hipster insiderdom of a secret handshake. A handshake you are now in on, dear reader.
So go forth and tweet, motherfuckers.