Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Curses, Batman, Foiled Again

You know, when I was a pre-teen, I had to make a decision: do I curse? I actually practiced cursing for a while, focusing on the words, "shit" and "hell." I would say them in my room by myself, and they sounded stiff, awkward. So I decided not to curse.

Then came 8th grade. I could tell by that time, people were getting more segregated – not by the color of their skin, necessarily (actually that was happening as well, but I really did not notice it at the time). People were labeled as "cool" or not. And there were a lot more "nots" than cool people.

I knew that I needed to do something to drift to the cool people – not the ultra-cool people (I did not have the money, the connections for that), but to be cool enough to at least talk to the ultra-cools without them looking at me as if I was a leper (nothing against lepers – I am sure there are some really cool ones, but it is harder to be cool when your skin is falling off). I had two choices – I could smoke or I could curse [I already sort of knew that sleeping around makes you popular among the boys, but not really; they won't talk with you outside of the bedroom – I had already observed that].

I chose cursing because it looked easier. Truth be told, I had this image of an old, ugly woman (looked like a bag lady, and nothing against bag ladies but I don't want to spend my days looking through trash, talking to imaginary people and drinking desert wines). Oh, lost my train of thought. I had this image of an old, ugly woman with a cigarette in her hand, and a caption, "Smoking is Glamorous." I have read that this type of advertising is not suppose to work – it sort of worked on me. Plus, I had seen several girls smoke, and unless you practiced a lot, you did not look all that cool.

I was into the easy way, and I had already sunk several days into practicing cursing – plus, hey, I was an 8th grader, and bad stuff was starting to happen to me, giving me more inspiration for cursing. Not real bad stuff, but relatively speaking bad stuff (mostly guys who were pigs, give you attention and then ignore you because their friends are watching).

So I was with my friends, and I was listening to all of the comments, hoping there would be a place for me to insert my s-bomb ("shit" seemed to be the most naturally sounding curse word for me). Finally my best friend at the time said something about making a C average in something, so she will be grounded for two weeks, no phone, you know, just above solitary confinement in prison. So I said, "Shit, Sara, sorry to hear about that." It had a curse word, it had alliteration, it had compassion, a freaking home run. The three other girls just turn and look at me, and at that moment in time, I knew that I just could not curse and it sound natural. It looks good on paper, but coming out of my mouth, it just sounded awkward.

Never get to sit at the popular table at lunch – that was clear. Just because I could not say "shit." Since then, I have matured and I still can't pull it off. I use "crap" and only half the time, from people's expressions, I know I can carry that word. And that is the sissiest (not a word, I know) of curse-words. I know I can't carry off an f-bomb (which, when I was growing up, was the worst curse word. Now kids learn this by first grade.

So here I am saying "crud", "fudge" and "shoot." So I am as popular as Adam West. I know what you are saying, "Who is Adam West?" Exactly. He didn't curse either.


kathi said...

I had no problem using the hip, cool and 'oh, you're so grounded' kinda words when I was younger. Now...not for the life of me. Which, I'm glad cause of my kids. I use crap too, and pooh. You think crap is a sissy word? Try pooh. I get a lot of fun made of me. Oh well, not like it's the only thing that people laugh at me for. :)

Prata said...

You could always use damn. I believe it comes from the Greek and only means small bits of metal (usually left over from forging/blacksmithing).

Want to know a demeaning word? Try golf. ^_^

Sassy said...

I guess it was easier for me to pick it up in college...but I do remember the first time I got caught saying a curse word. There was this real bitch who lived on my street when I was about 7, and when a new family moved in, I felt obligated to warn their young daughter (slightly younger than I) about this heinous cow. So, I told the new girl that the bully was a real "piece of shit." Unfortunately my dad heard me....took weeks to get the soap taste out. :)

Monica said...

I was silenced with allum as a child...soap was apparently too clean for our mouths. Actually I only got it once, and I have yet to swaer in front of my parents. I am a fantastic swearer now....my husband (who started much younger than me) made fun of me for years bacuse I didn't have the proper cadence, and even now, I get called out for my creative combinations...apparently "piece of fuck" isn't proper usage. I like it though. And "ass-hat" comes in handy too. I wish I could make the less caustic words sound okay now, but going from shit to poo, just isn't right....maybe merde (French) would be the way to go...French is almost as offensive as swearing in some circles now anyway.

Grant said...

My junior high friends once ridiculed me for saying "Rats." BTW, I recommend "Jesus Fucking Christ" for maximum shock value.

Video X said...

i like darn too. darnit. darnitall.

or fuck you you fucking fuck. that's terrible. but effective.

i have a horrible mouth. i go thru phases though. i'm working on it (making it cleaner).

i am laughing at this! hilarious. images of a girl practicing cussing...trying to have a potty mouth. that is gosh darned funny.

Goddess said...

Shit, Damn, Fuck, Bitch, Whore, all of the words are in my daily vocabulary. I used to only say shit, but then something happened, and I gained a potty mouth. It must have been job.....
I always say I am going to work on it, but I do not even realize when I am cursing, unless I am writing.
I only say I am going to work on it because my 3 year old says "shit". When I tell her she can not use that word, she replies with, "damnit". It is not funny hearing that come out of a 3 year olds mouth.
Don't feel bad about not being popular. I could curse perfectly at age 11 and I still do not think I was ever ultra cool. Actually, I do not think I became ulta cool until I was about 23 years old. Something about having to "come into yourself" or whatever.
Shit, who am I kidding. I am still not ultra cool, even though I am working on it. :)

mal said...

I did not make it in the "cool" crowd either. Lack of cash, fashion sense and an amazonian build were against me. I did foolishly take up smoking though....I wish I had taken your route and tried cursing instead,,,,SHIT


Lisa said...

That was hilarious! It may surprise you to know that I didn't start cursing until I was about 20 or 21--I figured, I had already committed the greatest sin on earth (premarital sex) so why don't jump right in to the sin pool? And, as you may not be so surprised to know, I liked it so much I've been unable to stop since then! :) I was only able to shake off my religious upbringing about 2 years ago, as far as saying the Lord's name in vain...that was more of an "I am finally free of the Mormon church" move, which is sort of like trying to be cool, if ya think about it. And I love leper jokes...

Bert Ford said...

Dang it.
is my personal favorite pseudo curse.
When I was a kid someone said a curse word within my grandmother's earshot. She decided that it was my cousin Dave. He swore that he was not the utterer of the sylable, (probably true) but grandma would not be detered. Finally, after a few minutes of fighting not to taste the soap, Dave snatched the bar out of G'ma's hand & took a great big bite out of it. The fight again resumed, but this time with my grandmother trying to keep dave frome eating the whole bar. Grandpa intervened. On a trip to the Emergency room Dave vomited copiously. The Doc said Dave might have the shits for a while, but that the soap wouldn't hurt him too bad.
Dave's a Marine now, and curses accordingly.

Joe said...

I've found that it's not so much the words you say, but the shock of hearing something heartfelt that gets a reaction. That's why people who say f**k in everyday conversation don't get a reaction while someone like you who never curses can say "crap" and have everyone stop and stare.

Well, there's that and the fact that you're so damn cool.

Leesa said...

kathi: you win. Pooh is worse. The sad thing is that I occasionally have been known to say pooh, too.

prata: I don't know whether you are serious, or you are "yanking my chain." Golf is big in Georgia. They shoot people for making fun of golf here. But they shoot people for lots of things here.

sassy: too funny. I loved that you thought of her as a bitch when you were 7.

monica: how funny - not sure what an ass hat is (perhaps I have been one and not known it)

grant: priceless - I can see you as this cool guy and you rip off a "rats"

vx: thanks for the compliment. And I still can't curse worth a darn.

goddess: you are too cool for school.

mallory: I wish I could buy fashion sense.

lisa: you have raised cursing to an art form, sweetie.

bert: you are a great storyteller. And now I will know not to eat, er, soap.

joe: too true. I once said "damn" loudly, and I silenced a room.

Just Some Gal said...

I Have started to try and clean up my language around my kid...

Yeah, um, I said shit a WHOLE lot prior to realizing that he really does absorb everything I say.

First 3 words for him:

Its a bit better now...but yeah, I um, am trying to talk cleaner.

Mark said...

Definitely cleaned up my language when we had a child. Now she's 17, going on 18, and I know she's heard just about everything already at school. SO, I don't swear that fucking much as I used to, but what the hell. I agree it's not so much the word, as when it is used effectively. If someone hears an OH FUCK in the house, then it's for a good reason.
Then there was the story told to me by a friend about him coming home early one day, and feeling randy, walked in from the garage, announcing... "Who in this house wants to fuck?" Unfortunately, he didn't know his mother in law was visiting...

Venky (வெங்கி்) said...

I agree with Joe. Being a typical conservative South Indian and hence not used to curse words well until I entered my Masters (I was a kid, really :-) ), I was shocked to hear "shit" for the first time. It was one of my seniors and he didn't find it offensive in any way [nor did any of his friends, actually].

I know how it felt when I used f**k first and all my friends kind of turned their heads together and watched me like I was some kind of alien.

From the time I've joined an MNC though, words like fuck, shit, screwed have become part of my vocab and I find it really difficult to not use them nowadays. Thank God, we talk in our regional language at home or else I would have been in real trouble.

So, the crux is that it's not very cool or something to use these words. It's more like you get used to them the more you speak them [and that I don't consider them "curse" words now :-) ] Yes, it's bad to hear them from your kids..but, who are we fucking kidding, really? they get to know them much earlier anyway ay school.

Venky (வெங்கி்) said...

Just thought I forgot to mention at the end of my comment, you write pretty well. Your stories aroused me quite a lot.

Prata said...

Oh I was bein' serious lolol. Golf stands for "Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden" so it's not a "curse" per se, but it is demeaning.

Why do you think golf was a men's "sport" for so long. I'm sorry but I find no sporting event in golf...I'm just sayin'.

Zephalius said...

So, that I know who Adam West is - this makes me a nerd?

Not that that's a surprise or anything.

My wife's favorite curse word is "sugarbakers." I have no idea what that means.

Leesa said...

blondie: you have such beautiful hair; just saw your pic on your blog. Guys, you ought to check out her HNT out (you get to see a bit of shoulder).

mark: mother-in-law may have needed a fuck.

venky: thanks for visiting my blog (a new face)

prata: yeah, especially in Georgia, women are not welcome in golf facilities (allowed, but often not welcome)

zephalius: yeah, you are a nerd. I am one, too. But I am not a big nerd.

Keith said...

Gosh, i don't think Burt Ward curses either.