If I was being forced to write an assignment on what word I've gotten the most use out of in my life, I'd probably get the paper sent back to me with a big F across the top;
I was a senior in high school the first time I ever heard someone say the "F" word...I swung around and glared at the female...FEMALE...I recognized her too...she was only a SOPHOMORE!!! In the 70's, the "F" word was an honor that was only bestowed upon college seniors, Navy shoremen, truckers, and politicians out of Chicago. "How crude," I thought. Yeah, crude. That was as close as I ever got to swearing...In fact, it may amaze you to know that my mouth wasn't even PG rated in those days...which is unbelievable when you consider I spent my teenage years just outside of Chicago, Illinois...Nope, it was gosh golly, or on the rare occasion gol' darn, as taking the Lord's name in vain swearing was strictly prohibited in the bible, and I was a Baptist babe...my using the word "dammit" was still a couple of years away...that didn't start until I started working as a nurse aide at nursing homes, and I blame the nurses for that...; )
When you start to use the word dammit, it becomes a slippery slope, because once you start with that word it's a short jump to gol' dammit...and then one day you slip up and use the Lord's name, and when you're not immediately struck down by lightning...the F word is just one bad moment away, or the first time you accidently spill a full bed pan all over your feet...
The F word...the queen mother of all curse words...wasn't that the line in the movie the Christmas Story? The kid sits in the bathroom with a bar of soap in his mouth...when my Aunt Loretta was a little girl she actually discovered she liked the taste of one of the soaps...a fact my grandmother discovered when she found huge chunks of soap missing one week, and had to change brands...
I spent almost a whole winter standing in a corner during my Kindergarten year for using the "H--E--double toothpicks" word...a couple of little boys would knock the head of my snowman off, I'd tell them to go to hell, they'd tell the teacher, and I would spend the rest of recess indoors, in a corner...I missed weeks of recess that way...(I seriously could've used global warming back then)...but eventually my 5 year old brain wised up and I stopped making snowmen, and spent the rest of Kindergarten slamming the little brats with snow balls...which apparently was OK...as long as I wasn't swearing at them while I hitting them with the snow.
After a while I didn't notice how often I swore...I can remember dating a guy when I was in my 20's who wanted to bring me to a picnic with his family, but when he asked me if it was OK if I wouldn't swear around them I was furious..."forget it," I told him...Can you believe it? I turned down a free meal!!!
But years later I'm dating the man who became my second husband (poor guy), and I'm sitting in the car with him and my little daughter (who was around 7 or 8 at that time), when all of a sudden she spills something and starts cursing like a little sailor, which is not as cute as it's depicted in the movies...I chewed her out and she left the car in tears...I turn to my date and tell him "where the hell does she get that?"
Bob: "Where do you think she gets it...she mimics the person she lives with, the person she admires..."
Me: "Wait...are you trying to tell me that I swear?"
Bob" "You swear a lot..."
So I started working on my language...which turned out to be a whole lot easier then quitting smoking...with swearing, I went cold turkey...and the weird thing is, when you give up swearing...you start to notice people who swear..."how crude," you think to yourself...but just recently...one swear word has attempted to creep back in my vocabulary, and yes, it's the queen mother...
The problem with the F word is that it's effective...it leaves the recipient with no doubt about where you stand on the subject, it can't be misconstrued, and it's never misunderstood...I think that's the main reason the "F" word is still the Queen...where other words like damn has lost it's power to offend, and bitch, well, that word has just become so...almost friendly...the "F" word still retains all of it's original power...
But it's still not as offensive to me as that other "F" word...fat.
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