Taking the bus this morning, I couldn’t help but listen to a mother talking to her young child. “Hell” came into the conversation a fair amount. However, her speech was much milder than a lot of the parents I hear on the bus. A lot of Fs and Motherfs creep into (or form the basis) of a lot of their conversations. It makes me feel very sad. Swearing has its place. Sometimes it’s the only kind of word adequate for a situation. Still I can’t help but feel that these children surrounded by curse words when they are so young are going to grow up unable to understand the true power of a really good cuss.
I suppose there are different kinds of swearing. My husband loves to swear. Thumb hit with hammer? F*!#!F*!#! Dropped a pen? Another bunch. Spilt some mustard? Another load. It’s angry swearing. Or frustration swearing. He does it ALL the time. He also has a little song to the tune of ‘John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt‘ which consists of nothing but swear words. Of course this swearing to music is neither out of anger or frustration. It’s just for fun.
I don’t swear much (unless my computer is misbehaving). Anyone who knows me in person would probably say that I don’t swear much at all. When I sliced into my thumb with a newly sharpened knife a few weeks ago, my husband hurried into the kitchen because he heard a very loud F.U.C.K. Just the one. Since it’s not something I say a lot, it meant something wasn’t right.
My parents had their own attitudes to swearing. I didn’t hear a ‘real’ person say fuck until I went to secondary school in the next town, and then I was fascinated by how often and how nonchalantly these tough town kids used it. I’d never heard it among the kids in my little village and certainly never at home. My mum used ‘bloody’ and ‘bugger’ a lot. A LOT. But it was only at home and usually because she was in a hurry and couldn’t find something. It was never directed at anyone. My father just doesn’t really swear at all.
There was one memorable occasion when I was a teenager and my father got angry enough to swear. He was the only man in a house full of females (my mum, my sister, and me), having grown up as the only man in a house full of females (his mum, and his two older sisters). One Sunday, he was growing increasingly frustrated at no one letting him get a word in edgeways. Finally enough was enough. He threw down whatever it was that he was holding, and shouted out “BOTHERATION!” My mother, my sister, and I all did our best not to burst into laughter. My first thought was “Oh, wow. Dad is really angry.” But my second was “That is that he says when he swears?!” It was shocking because he never loses his temper like that, but overall it was simply hilarious. Really – who says botheration? I can’t help thinking my father would have got a little more satisfaction if he’d opted for stronger language: he would have enjoyed the power of a real good cuss!
picture from: http://theclassyitgirl.wordpress.com