Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Total Truth Tuesday

Though my undergraduate degree is in English, I have earned an honorary Ph.D. in Swearing. And here’s the Total Truth for today: I have the potential for a potty mouth that would put a longshoreman’s vocabulary to shame.

Lest you think I am bragging about this Total Truth, let me assure you, I most certainly am not. I am quite aware that it is a disgusting habit. And though I have made great strides in eliminating bad language from most days, I’m hoping that maybe by admitting this problem I will finally shame myself into quitting for good. The thing is, swearing can be ridiculously therapeutic. It is, unfortunately, also incredibly contagious.

Which is why each of my children have said their first swear words before the age of two. Not that they swear, mind you, or use these words in conversation. I’m just saying they’ve each managed to catch and repeat a word that mommy has used and that she most definitely should not have. On a possibly slightly positive note (in a most convoluted way, of course) they both know what a swear word is and that these words should not in be uttered by their mouths in any circumstances. And we don’t actually have problems with them slipping up and saying naughty things. I have the feeling that this will not be the case once they reach, oh, middle school age unless I get my act together.

Now, BlogHer would prefer that I not swear on my blog and so I will be attempting to document and expose this problem without actually using any of the words in my repertoire. But, people, I’ve got some amazing swear word combinations. And that is all I’m going to say about that.

So, here’s how this whole swearing thing began. First, I grew up a good girl. Then, I went to girl’s school. And, I found out that if sugar and spice and everything nice was what girls were made of it meant that sometimes the “spice” involved was a bit more cayenne pepper than cinnamon. I got quite the education in swearing. But, I must have been storing up the skill and waiting until later to practice because it wasn’t until I turned 21 that the swearing was unleashed full force.

For years, I justified it. I mean, I’m an English major. I can argue all day long. How can you say a word, in itself, is immoral? I never argued that it wasn’t ugly to hear. Or hurtful. Or just foul. But, immoral? Really? What about shag? Obviously (thanks to Austin Powers) we know that it is a naughty word in England, right? And yet I have “shag” carpet in my bedroom. The goodness (or badness) of a word was, in my mind, purely subjective.

And then it happened. One day, on our way home from Easter Sunday service with my mother in the car, my darling Kai (then just shy of two) took one look at the church traffic ahead of us and oh-so-sweetly shouted, “Move it, Dumb*ss.” And, that is when I knew whether people could convince me of a moral problem with swearing or not, it was just plain ugly to hear.

Now, mind you. I’ve admitted that both of my children have said swear words and obviously Ivy wasn’t born when Kai was just two so I have clearly not been successful in eliminating these bad words completely. But, I have gotten so much better. And found many, many alternatives. Take for instance, Doughnut Hole. As in, “A green light means GO, Doughnut Hole!” Or even F. Because, it is the less abrasive nickname for another word that peppers my vocabulary. I mean, clearly not a nice alternative, but much better than it’s dirtier cousin. And, since it is simply a letter, it is at least helping to teach the girls their alphabet (um…totally kidding by the way).

Kai has helped me find other words to use as well, her suggestions include: booty hind, snap-a-doo, flip, blast, son of a nutcracker (thanks Elf!), and the slightly modified son of a motherless gun.

She thinks these are terribly clever. And using said modified “swears” actually turns yucky situations into something comical so it’s actually working for me. Of course, when the situation calls for swearing and nothing else will do I have a tendency to send them to their room so I can swear behind closed doors. And there are days when that is essential as well. Like when rude and uncaring government employees are reeking havoc on your taxes due to pure stupidity and you can’t quite tell your husband to tell those “sons of motherless guns to flipping get off their booty hinds and get it right.” It just doesn’t have the same effect, you know?


dewde said...

That's forking awesome. Oh, and our children are never playing with your children ever again.


Land of Lovings said...

To be honest, I've been expecting that annoucement for a while.

I mean, have you met my children??

Rachel said...

OH, this is a f-u-n-n-y post.

I've just learned cuss words in my husband's language (Bangla) which hardly anyone speaks (actually that's not totally true since the country has millions of people, but rest assured, if they are white, no one will be the wiser). That way I can call people tons of bad names and they have no clue.

It really works on bosses. For example, one can say, "You're such a hard working kunke," and no one knows you've just called them a hooker.