Tuesday, December 9, 2008

On swearing or not

I admit to swearing. The Bob swears too. We of course try VERY hard not to in front of Cooper, although I have acknowledged that my child will most likely be the first to curse in school, and teach others naughty words because there are just moments when it gets away from you.

Like the morning I nearly killed one of the other kids in the class and myself because he snuck up behind me and when I took a step back I almost stepped on him, knocking him to the ground. In my attempts to not step on him further, I was flailing around like I was on roller skates in a Popeye cartoon and let at least one 'oh shit' pop out of my mouth. Which made the teachers kind of laugh and be horrified all at the same time. Bygones.

So the question is, if you are trying not to swear, as in say the actual swear words, is it acceptable to replace them with either other real words, like 'sugar' instead of 'shit' or fake words like 'fragadooch' instead of F***. I don't find swear words in themselves all that offensive, mostly because they are just words. Why is shit worse than shoot? It is usually the intent behind them or the force with which they are said that disturbs me. So just substituting another word, but still having the same intention or emotion behind them may not really change the dynamic.

But it certainly would go a long way toward NOT teaching Cooper the words that might get him sent home with a note from his teachers. I am not naive enough to think he won't learn them from someone else. Please. During the summer when all the windows are open, sailors could learn to swear by listening to my neighbor. Her kids will be able to give lessons to the other kids in the neighborhood on proper use and syntax of swearing. Not that she is a bad mom. She is a very good one, she just swears a lot.

Side note: The one and only time the Bob has visited my parents home, the summer I was pregnant with Cooper, he laid a challenge at my feet: Work the word 'nads' into a sentence while talking to my mother. I had commented on the fact that I was pretty sure my mother had never said that word. It isn't technically a swear, it is more of a nickname, if you will, for the longer and actually anatomically correct term 'gonads'. But it is usually used in a colorful way, like the Bob saying 'Ouch, stop stepping on my nads' to one of the dogs and I found it difficult to conceive of a conversation in which my mother would use the term. I didn't actually use it out of the blue, I just told her about the challenge. She thought it was funny. I think. It was over 2 years ago now.

But back to my original thought - should one just try to replace the swear, or should one attempt a much larger exercise, and that is to respond verbally in a way that would not include an expletive at all? When I was flailing around trying not to squash a certain toddler, had I been in training for not swearing at all, I might have resorted to saying 'OH NO' or simply 'AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHGGGGGGGGGGG'.

Do you swear? Do you try not to and what do you say instead?


scott said...

Me swear? Hell no.

Hello, MidLifeMama.

Dproudmama said...

Oh boy, coming from a long line of devout swearers, it has become a challenge to not offend by copying these habits. Being a fifties, try-to-be-proper child, there are certain words that do not cross my lips. Others use these easily. Yet, shit has always been a favorite for intense moments - like to the doctor when he said "there is a tumor on the liver". He understood. It just feels good sometimes. It keeps the dark side away. "Darn" etc. are for "my stocking has a run" moments.

scott said...

"Darn" is, indeed, for when you have a hole in your stocking.


Very funny. Was that intentional or Freudian?

Hello again.

Mr Lady said...

Yeah, totally read my post today. It'll make you feel MUCH better.

Audubon Ron said...

I think you need to knock that shit off.