I’m told when I was little, one of the first phrases I uttered was “Goddamn dog.” This is due largely in part to the fact that my grandma used to throw it around on the regular when their geriatric poodle would jump on the back of the couch.
She still denies that she influenced an impressionable toddler to wander around the house mumbling profanities at a senile poodle, but from what I can recall, there was never an episode on Sesame Street in which Big Bird was bleeped out.
I share this little tidbit because I’m going to continue to talk about cursing. While I figure most of my readers are used to me, there might be one or two that are new and accidentally ended up here by searching “squirrels wearing Polish babushkas.”
In that case, this is your warning.
Although I don’t remember the dog incidents, I do remember the first time I ever stuck up my middle finger. I think I was around six or seven, and oddly enough, I was by myself and sitting on the toilet in our laundry room. (Why I remember this detail but spent 10 mins. looking for the keys I left in my back door last week is beyond me.)
I remember that I heard it was bad to do, but had no idea what it meant. The first time I did it it felt foreign and strange, like eating with a fork in your opposite hand. But I couldn’t figure out why one finger meant so much and soon got bored with the idea.
Fast forward about 10-15 years.
Again, I’m sorry if this offends you, but it’s one post. You’ll survive.
While I grew taller, both my boobs and my internal filter failed to mature and develop. A good student, athletic and innocent for the most part, the fact that I had the mouth of a drunken sailor was my dirty little secret until I actually opened up my mouth and let it fly.
I haven’t outgrown this shit yet.
This comes as a surprise to a lot of people, especially seeing as I keep this blog rather family-friendly (if your friends and family are dysfunctional, which most of mine are.)
I don’t ever curse for the shock value or to try and work up street cred I would inevitably lose the second someone witnessed me walking around with a forgotten Velcro roller in my hair. Sometimes I’ll put it in a cuss word because it’s part of the situation, but otherwise I don’t think profanity really adds to my posts.
But in person, email or texts with “appropriate” parties, it’s a different (often R-rated) story.
I figure I don’t smoke. I very seldom drink. I try to limit my use of voodoo dolls to less than an hour a day. If choosing to express myself in a colorful way is the worst thing that I do, then dammit, so be it. Except I’m pretty sure it’s not the worst thing that I do.
What I mean is that choosing to express myself in a colorful way (in appropriate situations) doesn’t really hurt anyone else, and although I’ve accidentally let it slip within the confines of questionable company more than once, I’m generally very respectful of my use of salty language.
And to people who say profanity is just something people with low intelligence use as a crutch, I call bullshit. I feel I have a pretty good handle on how to use the English language and I know when to add in the filter, but sometimes nothing but a good ol’ “shit on a shingle” will do.
So while I’ll continue to watch my language here on the blog, just know that if you ever hang out with me or send me an email that opens up the door for an inappropriate comment, I’ll take that shit and run with it.
I’ll blame my grandma—or perhaps on that damn dog.
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Amen sister! When I’m at home with friends I have a huge potty mouth. Sometimes I slip in inappropriate situations but not all that often. I think working in daycare so many years taught me to monitor myself.
Abby! Besides being hilarious, this is timely. My writing partner, El Farris, from Running From Hell With El, is working on her manuscript, and while we both cuss plenty over the phone, I have had a strong reaction to all the cussing some of her characters were doing. I realized they needed diversity. Not everyone can be a potty mouth. And some people might have a pet phrase, but every character can’t be a poo poo mouth. The swearing has to serve a purpose. We fleshed that out, and now El’s WIP is awesome! And, ironically, my main character probably needs to swear a bit more. Dammit.
I try not to swear (much) on my blog because educators read my posts. (That said, I’m sometimes a little naughty…but I think I am pulling it off. I mean, they haven’t fired me. Yet.
And I know you swear like a sailor. I follow your tweets. I guess that means I probably would have loved your grandpa. 😉
Ha! I try and keep it clean on my tweets as well, seeing as you never know who reads them, but sometimes something slips…
But you make a great point in that there has to BE a point to it. I’ve never done it just to do it, as that’s pointless. And it was my grandma…she still swears, but mostly in Polish. I do too, as no one knows what I’m saying then 😉
Yiddish is excellent for that, too. 😉 You schmendrick.
Holy shit snacks, Abby.
We love you just as you are.
Shit and everything.
I’m terrible. I curse in front of the little kids that I teach!
But I figure, “Eh….Fuck it.”
I have a potty mouth, too. I’m good at reining it in around my kids(and others). However, bits and pieces occasionally slip out, and my 3yo has a excellent memory. At Thanksgiving dinner, just as everyone was finishing up, we were all sitting around the table and in a quiet moment(of course) my little guy blurts out, “FOCK.”
Well, that’s something to be thankful for! 😉
I have to confess to being fond of the F-bomb, but I try to avoid it now that I have grandkids!
Oh my gosh, Eva. I love that you left this comment, as I can’t picture you even saying “crap!”
Hahaha I hear you. I curse a lot too. I try to stay away from offensive cursing – but that for me means language like “retard” or “fag” or “goddamn/jesus christ” (taking the lord’s name in vain). I’m not terribly religious but my fam is, and I understand that saying “goddamn” to them is a big deal. That being said, I don’t think “fuck” hurts anyone. So I say fuck a lot. Fuck.
And “douchbag” because I don’t think douches have feelings.
I agree with the “offensive” cursive and avoid all that crap myself, as I never have that intent with I speak and choose my words carefully in that respect. However, I’m kind of prolific with the usual suspects and four-letter words.
When we do finally meet in person? This is gonna be even more colorfully interesting than I ever thought. No flucking douchebaggery, but definitely fun.
Ditto on every count! I keep it reasonably clean on the blog, and around the kids, and in “mixed company,” but otherwise – holy hell. Very little, if anything, is off limits. No matter WHAT you say, there’s someone out there ready to be offended, anyway. Mayor Gia’s comment reminded me of a recent post I read in which “douchbag” was said to be offensive to women, so I figure everything’s going to piss somebody off (and by “Piss” I don’t mean to insult the incontinent).
I’m more offended by people who are offended by “douchebag.”
This is one of the (many) reasons I love you.
I like the swears, but try to use them sparingly. You know, for pizazz (i.e., “Whoa, that Chelada is shittastic!”).
I read “pizazz” as “pizza” and started nodding my head, as evidently pizza makes me so happy I curse.
My wife is one of the sweetest human being in the world. she smiles 24/7, has the most hospitable southern manners, and she swears up a storm, especially when she’s mad. yet, no one cares. it’s like she’s given a free pass by society because everything else works for her.
I don’t curse. Obviously, for artistic reasons, their bad words in my fiction. But in real life, I saw about 13 dirty words a year and they’re usually tied to hammers on thumbs or The Jets losing a football game. when i do drop one, everyone freaks. Like I slapped a nun.
Its all in delivery, tone, and personality. My wife can tell you wehre to go and how to get tehre and you’ll think she’s a peach. I tell you I’m pissed off because you’re being a jackass and you’ll start a website about how horrible I am.
I absolutely adore “shittrumpet” (not to be confused with adoring a shittrumpet, which I do not). I do plan to incorporate that one into my own personal vocabulary, and I very much appreciate the introduction to such a fun, new word. 😀
I can’t get you to *stop* cussing while emailing you. It’s fucking pissing me off.
I work in a very male-orientated environment and cuss with the best of them. I don’t hold back and I’m often met with gobsmacked expressions when there’s a new member of the team on board.
I remember when we first became friends, an in an email to you, I asked “are you ok with the ‘f’ word? Ha! I should have known!
I swear like a drunken sailor with Tourette’s regularly. Like you, I try to keep it contained to situations that warrant it and out of earshot of young children. Sometimes that doesn’t happen. My feeling with the writing is that I refrain from swearing in general but once in a blue moon I include it when it makes sense. I don’t live in a Disney cartoon.
I grew up with a Cuban father who, while being a literate and cultured individual, used to punctuate each of this sentences with two or three profanities. By the time I was two and a half, I was just as adept as he was at cursing. 😛
So you can swear bilingually! That’s quite impressive 😉
WHen I was in college, one of my writing prof’s started talking one day about ALan Ginsburg’s poetry and we ended up talking the whole class period about the proper usage of the good old “F-Bomb.” Cracks me up to this day.
My son TJ was right around 2-ish when he was sitting in his high chair. He was pushing around his dinner on a plate when it fell off the edge and onto the floor. he looked down at his dinner, now being gobbled up by the dogs and muttered his first words… “Oh, shit.”
As we laughed, my wife shot me a disapproving look. “Well, at least he used it correctly.”
I work in an office that is 80% guys. I cursed a good majority of the time anyway, but now when I let it slip in front of my mom (SUPER proper lady), I just blame it on that.
I think a good “shit” or “fuck” can be used to emphasize a point when need be. I see nothing wrong with putting in on the blog when it calls for it. But I do keep it in check most of the time.
Your mom would probably confine herself to a convent if she had a conversation with my mom, as we all tend to be a bit colorful when talking together. Again, we know when to keep it in check, but otherwise…
I feel like curse words are better at encapsulating emotions and feelings than regular words.
If you work in business, you’ve got to get your shit together and show you can compete with the big boys….and cram that “put on your big girl panties” condescending crap.
When someone asked me what my dad’s name was when I was a toddler, I responded that it was “Tony Jesus Christ.” It seems fitting considering how many times my mother probably used that phrase. I also referred to my finger as a “fucker” at a young age.
Those are innocent ones. Now I can be known to swear like a sailor. Sensitivities be damned.
Abby, you slay me!!
I also don’t curse very much on my blog. But in real life? I have a total gutter mouth.
I cuss a lot less in my writing than in real life. I also have a very good filter, for the most part. I can adjust the flow depending on the company. This leads to people being surprised when they find out I use such salty language.
I took driver’s ed from the boy’s basketball coach who was a former Marine as well. He later told my brothers, “Your sister has the face of an angel and the mouth of a sailor.” The face may have changed but I still have to watch what I say.
i don’t swear, but goodness, if anyone can pull it off without sounding like trash, it’s YOU! That’s probably the oddest compliment you’ll ever get, but it is a compliment. haha.
Girl, I swear like a sailor. And as soon as I have one cocktail, it multiplies times 100. But listen, sometimes the only word that will work is “fuck” so for fuck’s sake, let it fly.
Kudos for keeping it clean on your blog – and hell, sometimes I wonder if i should work on my sailor tongue. It’s gotten to the point I don’t notice it, and run a risk of being wildly inappropriate without even realizing it…
PS creative swears have GOT to be the best. We should take that homework assignment and run with it… nothing like yelling SHITTRUMPET out your car window!
I’m expected to talk like a sailor, I live on a sailboat. Does that not make me a sailor? Have I not earned the right to speak the language? Hell yeah! I am not offended by bloggers who cuss, I’m offended by bloggers who bleep themselves to clean purity. Sometimes it’s just appropriate to say *fuck*.
I can have a potty mouth but try not to, especially with my parents. My dad just doesn’t swear, well normally doesn’t. I use it in posts for some humor and if it’s a quote but other than that have found it really doesn’t add anything extra special.
I could care less if others swear. Actually, some do it so well I could pee my pants laughing. Then there are those who just shouldn’t even say “shit”. It just doesn’t come out right at.all.
Great post. I’ve seen you around at Kitty Extraordinaire’s blog and Angie Undercover so I HAD to stop on over!! You keep good company!
Have a super day!
I, too am the sailor-mouthed type of girl. I would blame the husband because he’s an East Coast guy with a sailor mouth himself, but I was this way long before we met. I think that because no one cursed much at home I felt the need to branch out and be the one that adopted a devil-may-care attitude about cursing. Like you, I know when and where to use my mouthy skills, so I’m not ALL bad language and bad attitude like my parents would lead people to believe when I was a teenager.
I curse a lot. I curse on my blog, if it’s the way I would ordinarily say something. I try to censor at work (and often fail, usually because my computer is fucking annoying–see?!?!) and around my in laws. I am VERY quiet around my in laws.
But most of the time, I just let it fly. If someone is going to be offended by my sewer mouth, I like finding that out quickly.
I hate it when people want to use profanity but can’t quite make it there–like saying “eff-ing” or replacing the “u” in fuck with an asterisk (funny cartoon by the way). Say/write it or don’t; there are real words that can convey the same meaning.
That’s funny! I was bitten by an emu at a zoo when I was little and apparently said “Damn bird!”
Ha! You can can say whatever you want. I have a friend whose dad used to call her “little shit” all the time. She said if he had started calling her anything else, she would have felt less loved. (Thanks for linking up to #findingthefunny!)
Came from finding the funnies – really made me laugh! Blame the Grandma, she would probably secretly love it! lol!
“And to people who say profanity is just something people with low intelligence use as a crutch, I call bullshit. I feel I have a pretty good handle on how to use the English language and I know when to add in the filter, but sometimes nothing but a good ol’ “shit on a shingle” will do. ”
Yes. Please. Curse!!! My children have had to learn to swear creatively, having grown up with me for a mother. Sometimes, I think the only purpose my Master’s in English serves is to prove that I am not stupid, and that my choice language must have some other origin like that it is a necessary part of communication.
Funny story. I picked up my son from daycare a few weeks ago. He’s got serious behavior issues related to autism, so I know the teacher’s expression when she’s coming to tell me Sam’s had a rough day. On that particular day ,she informed me, “He used some potty language today,”.
I said, “Well, he probably learned it from me, which was it?”
“You mean ass?”
WTF?????? Lady??? I burst out laughing. We’re talking about a kid who has been known to tackle his peers because he can’t express himself, and she’s concerned because he affects a sarcastic tone and announces “baby butt” to the room at large?????
And now I like you even more. I have a mouth like a sailor in real life – just not in my blog life. 🙂 You were one of the most clicked links at last week’s Finding the Funny party. We’re featuring you tomorrow, and pinning this!
OMG…we are soul sisters. I am a very intelligent (two master’s degrees), pediatric nurse practitioner, daughter of an elementary principal, mother of 2 who LOOOOOOVEs to use the word “fuck” like it is the second most frequent word in the english language. I, like you keep my blog fuck-free. It is all-swear-word-free for that matter. But in my RL I just can’t keep the fuck’s from flying out of my mouth. My kids, thankfully, have taken the high road and chose not to use this most delicious and always-appropriate word although my 6 year old does frequently say “i’m screwed”, “this sucks” and “oh crap”. I guess I can’t complain; it could be worse.