Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pure As The Driven Snow

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?
Created by OnePlusYou - Free Online Dating

I have to say I was a little surprised by this one.  Not that I regularly curse on this site, but I thought there might have been some commenters in the past that have.  Or maybe a post or two in which I might have used even a tiny swear word.

But, I guess not.

When I was a kid, from about the age of 11-14, I went through a phase where I thought it was really cool to swear. Whenever we weren't around adults, my friends and I would use the most foul language we knew. Really foul. Sailor foul. Still-can't-say it-on-TV foul. We would take the long way home from school and make up new words to use, combining several four-letter words into one supercalifragilistic swear word.

I don't know why.  Maybe we were bored.  Maybe it was an easy way to rebel without actually doing something very serious. Maybe the adults in our lives were a horrible influence on us. Maybe we watched too much cable TV.

The funny thing is that I eventually completely dropped swear words from my vocabulary.  I was 14 and entering my sophomore year in high school. It occurred to me that swearing made me appear to be something I wasn't. I wasn't a dangerous, bad-girl, smoking cigarettes in the bathroom kind of person. I wasn't a punk anarchist, even if I did own a Violent Femmes album. 

It didn't fit me.

I also realized that swearing profusely alienates people.  It makes people uncomfortable.  They aren't sure what to say or how to react. They wonder if you might be a little off-kilter if every sentence is punctuated with f**k.

So bye-bye went my potty mouth.

Raising kids has taken the parsing of words to a whole new level.  What words, or expressions, do I let my kids use?  I know some parents who discourage all substitutes like "darn" or "heck" or "crap". "Darn" doesn't bother me. "Heck" is something I could tolerate, but I don't encourage. "Crap"....well, that just seems crass to me.  

What's funny is that a verboten term in our house is the word "stupid".  It's not allowed.  We don't call things or people stupid, or even dumb.  I would rather hear my children curse than use that word, especially if it's directed at somebody. It is so belittling and full of contempt. 

We also avoid the term "shut up".  See above paragraph for the reasoning.

This has led to some interesting encounters.  My brother and his wife, both Christian and conservative and not too different on issues than I am, allow their children to use "stupid" and "shut-up", but not "darn" and "heck". My kids respond with shock and horror when their cousins call something stupid, or say that they're doing something stupid.  

I guess that's the natural course of swearing.....offending people with words that mean nothing to us, but are shocking to them.

Anyway....feel assured dear reader. 

0% swear level on this blog in, not, since I created this blog over two years ago.

It's about damn time I was recognized for something. 


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