childhood

So happy my potty mouth is a good thing

I didn’t grow up with a swear jar in the house. But I knew better than to curse at home. I didn’t really curse at school either. I was a nerdy nerd. I was as happy go lucky as possible in the context of poverty, crime and despair. The teachers all knew me as a pet. I was often showcased before visiting district administrators. I was a “pollito” as described by my teachers. I had no idea what that meant, but I took it to be that I was a good kid, maybe even naive. 

I grew up into a distinguished woman who has given hundreds of speeches and pep talks. I try as best as I can to exhibit optimism even if overlayed with snark. And that’s the rub. Somewhere along the way, I developed snark. A biting snark. And I don’t suffer fools well. Amazingly, I’m still optimistic. But I do have it in me to curse like a sailor. Do sailors really curse that much? The few I’ve met have been supremely well-mannered. This is a total side note, but did you know that a majority of our curse words in English are Germanic in nature versus Latin? I’m not saying anything other than that is interesting. To me, at least. 

OK. Let’s stay on me. I curse. I curse a lot. I like cursing. There are certainly times that deserve a very expressive word. I don’t do offensive curses. I’m still in shock that the P word is now a free for all ever since our then presidential candidate had been retroactively caught saying it. There are also no truths now. So, who is to know if most of our curse words have a German root. OK. Back to me. I’m not running for any political office, by the way. At least today. I may in two years. And I’m happy that my cursing shouldn’t be an impediment.

Let me tell you why I will keep cursing. But first let me note I had a boss years ago who hated my cursing. He didn’t hate it for professional reasons. He liked that I was pretty and found that my cursing was un-ladylike. I relished cursing around him. I did, absolutely feel extreme horror, the first time I cursed around my mom. I was in my late 20s and I immediately covered my mouth in shame. I think that may have been the only time around her. 
Here is the thing. A recent research study (Feldman et al, 2017) noted that those individuals who curse more, may actually be more honest. Or they may be perceived as being more honest. Profanity is associated, according to just this one set of researchers, with integrity at a societal level. And, let me tell you integrity has always been a core personal value of mine. So, you may think I’m not a lady, despite my high heels and girly dresses, but I’m full of integrity. So take that! I’ll take NY cursing over lacking integrity πŸ˜‰ 
And with that, I am finishing my Smals rant. 
Unbelievably, folks, I’m ending this post without stating a single curse word. Wow. 

14 replies »

  1. Yes, not a single curse word.
    Kept me in suspense all the way to end, I thought you were gonna drop it, but didn’t it.
    Great, not great that you didn’t curse, but great for being unpredictable.

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  2. There is a reason our curse words are Germanic in origin.

    Long, long time ago, the French defeated the British and took over. 1066 it was and King Harold of England was under attack on two fronts. On the east he faced a Viking army. In the south he faced, William the soon to be Conquerer.

    Ironically William was the great grandson of Rollo, brother of the legendary Viking, King Ragnar Lothbrok who had laid waste to Paris. They Put Rollo in charge of Normandy, a peninsula already heavily populated by the β€œnorth” men (Vikings who had settled in France) in order to get the Vikings to go away. But I digress.

    Harold defeated the Vikings and then turned to fight William. Should have fallen back and recuperated but instead force marched into battle and lost. This is the first and only time in history the French managed to completely defeat the British. And they had to use the French descendants of Vikings to do it. I still digress.

    The dominant language of the English was Anglo-Saxon, a Germanic language. The language of the Normans was French, a romance language. The Anglo-Saxon language expanded to include many French words. For example, β€œcow” remained the name for the animal, while β€œbeef” became the name of the meat from a cow. The poor and oppressed English would care for the animal while the well-to-do French conquerors got to eat it.

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  3. Back in 1066 William the Conqueror took over England. The language of the elite became French while Anglo-Saxon became the language of the serfs. Now eventually Anglo-Saxon (Middle English) triumphed because that was what 99% of the commoners spoke. Many French words were absorbed in the process, with the French words being considered more refined
    One example was the words for animals. Before the invasion one would raise a cow and then eat cow. After the invasion a commoner would raise a cow but the nobility would eat beef, the French word for it. Many other foods went the same way. By the same process, the Anglo-Saxon word for something dirty or nasty would become the swear word while the French word for the same thing would be the polite word.
    And that is why obscenities usually have Germanic roots while “polite” society often uses words with Latin roots for the same things.

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