So, I was reminded not too long ago that my predilection for profanity was especially evident lately. Lately? Where hath these innocents been?
Yes, OK, I have a mouth and it’s pretty potty at times, but I believe I’ve earned it honestly. I’m sorry, but I cannot apologize for it. According to even more recent studies than the ones that said swearing helps with pain, they now say my kind of swearing indicates genius level intelligence too. I wouldn’t lie about that…. I’d swear to it….
So, in that vein, I (re)present an updated story I published a few years ago about passing the gift down…
For about a millennium now it’s been said that kids say the
damnedest darnedest things. I know this truth first-hand and I’ve kept a journal to capture a good number of eyebrow raising, head scratching and -are you for real- statements that my son has spouted since he started spouting.
I always encouraged free and open speech with him and I’ve always adored hearing what comes out of that new and unfettered brain. The only thing I’ve forbidden is swearing. It’s not that I’ve pretended that swearing doesn’t happen; we’re all aware of its worldwide domination, thus he’s heard such a word or two in the homeland.
He had attempted to copy those words, but only once, (that I know of), OK, technically twice, but the second time was just a noun change. It happened when he was two and a half. We were on holiday and his dad was desperately searching our vehicle for the camera before the beautiful tall ships we were watching passed by. While he was frantically throwing items left and right, he yelped, “Where’s my f*#kin’ camera”?
A couple of hours later, on our way home, I noticed my son frantically looking left and right. I asked him what was wrong and he plaintively asked, “Where’s my f*#kin’ camera”? To be fair, his toy camera did, in fact, appear to be a missing casualty of his father’s earlier desperation.
About two weeks later we were playing tea party and he came out of his room with most of his supplies except one. With hand on hip and grave consternation, he spoke. “Where’s my f*#kin’ teapot”? We had a little chat and I have to say he’s been pretty good at finding alternative words of satisfaction ever since.
Actually, he would eventually become a little too efficiently aware; he grew into the Soup Nazi of potty-mouth alternatives. Our self-proclaimed lord of language decency worked his moral indignance to a level that drove me to drink. He deployed a ‘swear jar’, a wretched vessel of confiscated loonies for every swear word he caught, thereby generously cutting into my own happy hour funding. Which also had me questioning my study-confirmed intelligence for having agreed to this insanity.
So, yes, I can swear like a drunken sailor. Actually, I feel that analogy is an insult; I’m certain my stupendous ability could teach a sailor a thing or two. Lest you accuse me of hypocrisy, I look at it like being an artist of abstract art who had to first prove that she can paint a real-life landscape before delving into free-flow style. My swearing is not a replacement for regular speaking skill, just occasional, as required, colorful enhancement. Certainly some days need more color than others.
Also, as a public service announcement, there have been recent studies that state hollering four letter words helps to alleviate pain. Think about that the next time you hammer your finger. No really, look it up.
OK, back to my son. What I’ve always told him is profanity is adult language; he’s free to swear when he is 18 or paying the bills, whichever comes first, (not gonna lie – secretly hoping it’s paying the bills).
No, I don’t really believe he will never swear again before he turns 18, but I’m pretty sure he’ll have learned to speak several appropriate adjectives first. After that, if he wants to add a little color now and then, fine, but more importantly, maybe then I can earn some #*@kin’ coins back.