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.
2 days ago