Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Descriptive language skills

Warning: This post contains bad words.

A few nights ago I went out with two of my wonderful neighbors for ice cream. During our conversation one of them offered an apology for her bad language. Puzzled, I asked her what she had said. The sheepish answer: "crap". It seems that this offensive word occasionally pops out of her mouth and causes great embarrassment.

Oh crap, I am in trouble. My favorite and most used expletive is shit. (Please, please, please, don't any of you report me to the blog police!!!) I grew up with this word. It just naturally rolls off my tongue at both appropriate and (more often) inappropriate times. I think it was one of the first words Athena and Eris learned. I'm fairly certain that each one of my grandchildren is familiar with it and has probably had the experience of soap in their mouth because they echoed my utterances learned when they were entrusted to my care.

My friend Jan is a visual person. For many years she quietly endured my endless "shits". One day she explained that whenever I said the word she actually envisioned a pile of brown, stinky stuff. Oh my heck, I felt absolutely terrible about how she had endured this for so long without speaking up. I tried to get her to say it with me over and over so that she would get used to how it sounded and maybe even use it. Each time she "shhhhhhed" the look on her face was painful. Immersion therapy was not successful.

The air quite often turns blue when things don't go my way. Just as Mary Poppins used to sing "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious", I intone "shitfartdamnpeehell" or some other combination of profanities. In the last few years I have advanced to occasionally exploding the f-bomb, but that is rare and saved for those extra special occasions when there is absolutely no other appropriate synonym. Also, I am very particular about who is present at the time. Don't worry, your children are safe.

Which brings me to the point of this post, which hopefully will not upset too many of you. What is the difference between saying "freaking", "flipping", "eff-ing" or "what the f" as opposed to letting loose with the REAL thing? Gosh darn it, I know what you truly want to say.

Oh crap, how many of you have I pissed off?
(Comments will be moderated... my grandchildren read this!)



Athena said...

If you choose you may advance your talent even farther, my young grasshopper.

Start forming sentences where 75% are the words you speak of.

You will then have great power to make men blush and wonder if you were born at a truck stop.

Eris said...

Ok, first, "eff-ing" has got to be one of my favorites - especially since I saw it used in the Harry Potter books. Ron's potty mouth cracks me up.

Second, Athena can brag but I firmly believe the master of the cuss-word is Jerry Sloan. Spend a day with that guy and you'll be spewing out profanity in technicolor.

Finally, a four-letter word every once in a while is good for you. it reminds you you're human. My bishop said "What the hell were they thinking?" to me IN THE CHURCH. Love that guy!

The Duchess said...

Oh numismatist - you should live in New York where shit doesn't even count as a swear

Muriel said...

Matt took a linguistics class a couple of semesters ago, and in some parts of the world your potty mouth wouldn't even be blinked at. Mitchell said "Oh my hell" the other day. I wonder where he heard that?

Athena said...

Not to brag about my parenting skills but both of my kids were six years old the first time I heard them say the f word. Laughed my @$$ off - sneaky way to swear huh! =)

At this point they know I am serious when they hear it! Sometimes there's nothing better to convey the seriousness.

Eris said...

It's like George Carlin said (paraphrasing of course): Hey, if you can tell me a way to tell someone to fu** off that conveys the same tone, I'm happy to use it. Until then, fu** off."