Bad Words

“There is a time for everything,” according to Ecclesiastes 3:1. This column, for instance, is decidedly neither the time nor the place for me to let loose a cavalcade of curses. But every now and then, a well placed swear word is just what I need for emphasis, spice, or catharsis.

Mind you, I do not admire, respect, or encourage wanton, indiscriminate potty mouth. I did not raise my kids to rail with inappropriate verbiage. In fact, excess, as with many things, dilutes the impact. Like Pete Townshend said, “just a little is enough.”

Nor was I raised in a home where swearing was practiced or encouraged. I picked it up where most of us do: at school, from friends. Back when I went to high school, recess meant kids sitting on the bleachers behind the building. Smoking (for the record, I didn’t). And swearing. Teens like to try on bad words to see how they fit. They bandy them about like badminton birdies.

Much later, my mother shared a delicious secret with me. When she and my father fought, which was often, she would try to diffuse the situation with humor. It was a technique she’d learned in her early childhood education studies. The specifics, though, were all her own. They did not appear in a textbook, nor did she use them with her adoring pre-k “kids.”

In the searing heat of the moment, when things were about to take a really deleterious turn, she would unleash a string of as many naughty words, in the most absurd combinations, she could muster. She would only stop when she and my dad had broken down in body-wracking, tear-streaming laughter.

For me, it might be alone in my apartment after a particularly piquant toe stub or as I relate the climax of an incredibly annoying incident to one of my close friends. I neither swear at people, nor do I pepper routine conversation with it. But, gosh darn it, sometimes it just feels good! Sometimes it is just what the situation demands. I know that some people may disagree with me, although I suspect they may be closet cursers, but if the do, they can go f…..ind themselves a more proper friend!


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