Wednesday, July 19, 2006

C'mon Now, You Say Never? Are you Sure?

So I have to admit, I cuss. I try not to cuss on this blog because I like to keep it family friendly most of the time, as well as having the time to come up with alternate ways of stating things. My father is a famous cusser, and I grew up listening to him fix things around the house and cursing them in seemingly thousands of different variations. A tradition of sorts was begun, and my sister and I both cuss, even though my mother thinks "darnit" is risque and looks around to see if anyone overheard her.

In fact, in my later teen years the best way to fluster my mother was to curse at her. Not necessarily at her, but say cuss words in the course of the argument. Yes, I am a bad person, but hey, I had to use the full arsenal and I was usually backed into a corner at that point. She would occasionally throw the cuss word back at me, but you could see her inwardly cringing as she did it, so it lost a lot of impact.

Most people think that cussing is for people who lack a vocabulary. Or lack an imagination. Oddly enough, I wouldn't count myself as either of those. I would say it is more of a purely reactionary thing. There you are, innocently walking in your own living room, and you step on one of those infinitismal Legos which embeds its sharp corners into the tender arch of your foot. Are you going to think about creative ways in which to express your outrage and pain? No. It is lightning quickness that is required at this point to mirror the processing of the pain, and out it comes.

I do think that curse words are much overused. I don't condone having every other word that comes out of your mouth be a cuss word, and using it in the same sentence as an adjective, adverb, and verb. Or even if you say them in inappropriate situations, such as around children or in a crowded restaurant. But I think they are a valid part of the English lexicon, and if these current curse words lose their shock value, they will be replaced with others. It has been thus since spoken language began. Heck, Shakespeare used all kinds of cuss words in his plays and nobody thinks he is an uncultured swine. Most people these days do not know which words at that time were considered "bad." But get an expert in there to translate, and you will find good old William was the master of quite the salty language. And really, is it any different when you say "farkle" or "shazzbot" instead of the commonly known curse words? Yes, you are making something up, but the meaning behind them is exactly the same. As a species, I believe we have to have some sort of verbal outlet, the words just always shift and change. Otherwise we would all just walk around saying "Aargh" and "Ack" all the time, and then before you know it, any kind of gutteral sound will be considered in poor taste.

I do not cuss in front of Mr. Personality, but give me a group of adults and I am apt to fall off the wagon fairly quickly. Hubba-hubba does not cuss in front of him either, although at his job the cuss words fly fast and furious at all times. Thus it is a much bigger effort for him to reign it in than me. But, Mr. Personality has never uttered a curse word, and I don't expect him to any time soon. I think the worst he has said is idiot, which I am prone to calling other drivers when they cut me off. Yes, yes, I will work on that.

I suppose pehaps that people who do not cuss can take it as a point of pride. But there aren't many of them out there, I bet.

Sigh. I knew you wouldn't respect me in the morning.

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