Sometimes I will use this space for foiling. Which is to say, I will highlight one thing to show how much I disdain something else. But look, not everything can be delightful. That’s life.
I am going to tread lightly here because I don’t want to give anyone the wrong idea. Though now I’m not really sure what the right idea would be in this case. But I am what you would call a swearer. A potty mouth. A sailor. That is how I grew up, okay. My father was a construction worker and I have four sisters so you do the math. We never took the Lord’s name in vain and I don’t now. I don’t refer to body parts with words beginning with the letter ‘C.’ And I try not to direct my expletives at people. ‘B*@ch’ for example, is a verb not a noun. Swear words are like guns. Very fine to have and use, but don’t point them at people.
But I am a lover of the English language and let’s just say that love covers a pretty generous swath. I like colorful, and there are few words I actually hate. There is, however, a word, that if I could strike from the English language so that I never have to hear it cross my ears again, it is this barf euphemism often used in place of a far better, more creative, and stronger word. The offender: Frickin’.
This is the linguistical equivalent of a fence-rider. Not enough moxie for the full F, not enough wit to think of something smarter. I am not opposed to euphemisms carte blanche. I like child-friendly, Grandma-style euphemisms because they are completely ironic and hilarious. Examples include hoohoo, chacha, poochatch, tatas, and beebleberries, three of which sound like something off a menu at a Mexican restaurant. I also like fiddlesticks, shucks, fudge, sugar, and son-of-a-biscuit.
Effing, A-hole, douchebag, jackass, and putz, are milder expletives, but welcomed. But for F#*@’s sake, I would rather you take a full flying jump off the cliff and just drop that F-bomb and deal with the consequences, than to stick your toe out and tumble clumsily down the side of the mountain like a buffoon with that lame, white-trash “frickin’.” Gaaaah.
Swear words have always held tenuous sway in our household. For a while, ‘shut up’ could get you a nasty parental glare, but then the older constituent grew up and brought their lingo with them and suddenly ‘shut up’ was the least of our parents’ worries as they tried to shield the innocence of the youngers. But there was a fly in the Vaseline, noticed, of course, by my keenly observant sister L, who probably could have made it big as a logician if she’d cared to, such are her skills for detecting the breakdown of an argument. Seems that as my stepfather was out on the ‘shut-up’ witch hunt, he was concurrently peppering his own parlance with the occasional ‘ass.’ When confronted about it (by her) he blew it off, saying it wasn’t a swear word. They used it on TV. Mistake.
Naturally she took it and ran with it. Like fast. Welcome any sort of expression that might necessitate a swear word, now completed with this (evidently) non-swear word. “What the ass were you thinking?” “Ass-you.” “Ass-off” and of course, “Shut the ass up.” There was no recourse.
So am I delighted by profanity? Well, when it is creatively used and well-timed (like not in front of Granny), I would say, yes. Do I feel guilty about that? Umm, well, no. But do I feel guilty about not feeling guilty about it? Absolutely.