“Why use profanity in real life and writing? Because sometimes ‘darn it’ just doesn’t cut it.”
― Jacqueline Patricks
Okay, I admit it: I have been known to (read: often) cuss. Not as often as I might, I have a wife who doesn’t appreciate the finer nuances of swear words when things don’t go the way one would expect.
And then there are the grandkids that I spend a great deal of time with. The older ones (the ‘tweens and teenagers) have no doubt heard them all (what else are playgrounds for?) and I’ll bet my last dollar they have used them, themselves, among their cohort (but don’t do so around me, yet, not that I’d really give a $#/+ if they occasionally did), but they haven’t heard them from me (as far as my wife or their mommy knows, anyway.) Nor do I indulge my linguistic arts around the babies (let them learn them on their own. Or from their daddy.)
Hey, I’m a guy, for £*€# sake!
And I was once in the Navy, #@₩* it! (Which is where young men, whose vocabulary was honed on the playground and in the locker room, get their post-graduate degree in language.)
Put me in a certain situation – idiots in traffic, a tool or electronic thing that won’t work as I want or expect it to, when I stub my toe, when some politician opens his/her mouth, when I read the daily news, when I find I’m out of my favorite beverage, when the neighbor uses his leaf blower while I’m trying to take a nap, when some necessary service raises their monthly fee…again. And those are just the most provoking situations!
That said, I’ve read something that surprised the #€// out of me. AARP (Dec. ’16/Jan. ’17) – the magazine for senior citizens – ran article entitled “In praise of $%!?!”, subtitled “cussing can be good for you, research shows”. Highlights:
• Studies at both Marist College in New York and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts found that people who use curse words tend to have a wider vocabulary, which is considered an indicator of intelligence.
• A study by England’s Keele University found expletives may have health benefits by helping reduce and endure physical pain.
• A survey taken by business software provider Wrike found more women admit to swearing, but men swear more frequently.
• Research has shown that judicious cursing at work helps forge stronger team relationships.
All this flies in the face of everything we’ve been taught, especially that cussing is indicative of being unintelligent, that it’s women who are the guardians of decent language, and that profanity is unprofessional at the office.
So, as the article’s opening sentences said, “Go ahead and let loose. It might reflect well on you.”
Or not. Cussing isn’t for everybody, anymore than brussel sprouts are, for some people either can leave a bad taste in the mouth.
But really, everyone knows what dang it, shoot, frickin’, gosh-darn, Judas Priest and all those other refined words really mean. Isn’t it a bit naive to think other people don’t know what you’re thinking and would like to really say?