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Here’s a fun little secret you probably would have been able to guess on your own: I like to curse. I am a curser. There is nothing quite as cathartic as stringing together a remarkable series of expletives and animal sounds, and I have to tell you, some of my improvisations are truly memorable. Like the time I called my computer a “cockserpent,” which is kinda redundant, but somehow not. Or the time I dropped my sunglasses in Wawa bathroom and yelled “Son of a f***-wh*** s***-c***!!!”

Obviously around my kids, grandparents, in-laws, etc., I go into what radio professionals call “FCC” mode, in which I cut out anything stronger than “dang” and “heck” and avoid telling jokes like the one about why the hooker had a runny nose. But if I’m alone, or just hanging out with friends my own age, it gets all Andrew Dice Clay up in this piece, but without all the class that the Diceman brings to his act.

What made me think of this was the random recollection of the time in college when I was advised by an older female student that I might have better luck meeting ladies if I cursed less. At the time this seemed like pretty good advice, and so for a period of time I tried curtailing my profanity. Looking back, however, it was completely ridiculous. It’s like telling someone, “You know, you might have better luck meeting ladies if you weren’t so heterosexual.” Changing a core value (specifically, “Bad words are awesome”) to try and attract mates leads to poor communication, failed marriages, and colon cancer. Look it up.

In the end my future wife (who curses like a pirate) and I ended our ill-advised “break-up,” married, and have produced two children, the elder of which chastises me if I say the word “stupid” in his presence. In fact, he’ll object to any word that sounds roughly similar to “stupid,” such as the other day when he protested my use of the word “stupendous” and later in the week when Sarah said “striped” and got called out for it.

When he turns 16 I’ll teach him real curse words. I’m sure he won’t have picked up any on his own.

5 comments to #&$*

  • Ped

    I’ve been a curser too. Wait, do you spell it curse, but still as many wilmingtonites call it “cus?” Anyway, my cursing basically came out of my college life, particularly the time spent with guys in small rooms. Watching Philadelphia sports teams has also been a big factor.

    My girlfriend never curses, well not never, but hardly. When she does, then it’s something significant and somehow the curses have more power. I like that, but I don’t think I’ll ever get to that level.

    I do cringe when I hear someone curse around children and usually I want to beat their ass (the curser not the children).

    Why do we call it “curse?” Isn’t a curse like wishing death on people or wanting them to turn into a frog? What about the word, “swear?” Doesn’t that normally imply something against God? ok, now I’m rambling. Shit.

  • My brother is a world-class curser. I like to think some of that rubbed off on me. I really love cursing, like, maybe too much. I don’t feel like I can really get my point across without peppering a few well-placed F-bombs. When I really get going, the F-word is akin to everyone else’s “like.” It’s a meaningless modifier… but it just feels so good to say!

    One time I decided to give up cursing for Lent. The first night of Lent we went bowling. I had achieved 100% LENT FAIL like 2 hours after Lent started. (More reason why religion ain’t my thing.)

    I had a dream the other night that I was trying to explain myself to a group of professionals over a gross misunderstanding and they were all raising their voices and not letting me ‘splain. I got so frustrated that I bellowed, “WILL YOU ALL JUST PLEASE SHUT THE FSCK UP SO I CAN EXPLAIN, PLEASE?” and then they got all offended and like, “Oh, we won’t stand for profanity here! You just lost your chance!” I woke up and learned a lesson from that. The lesson was not, “In professional situations, curtail the cussin’,” but instead “Don’t do business with prudes.”

    Wow, this is long.

  • Fargin’ great post, sir. I love the baddie words too, but I try to save them for special occasions. In “Hocus Pocus,” Vonnegut said something like “when you swear, you give your listeners an excuse to tune you out.” Truer fcuking words have never been spoken.

    It pleases me that the big ‘ol F-word still has some power. I thought the C-word would remain the mightiest, but I dunno…lately I just find it cute. I do love torturing those who hate it by telling them, repeatedly, that I enjoy playing the (fictional?) video game “Bug Hunt”…

  • stefan

    After all these years, I still contend that f*ck is the greatest word in the English language. It’s the only word that can be used as an adjective, adverb, noun and verb in the SAME sentence and still vaguely make sense – “the f*cking f*ckers made me wait a f*ckingly long time, after which I just wanted to f*ck all of them in return”.

  • Colin

    I love the word “cockserpent.” It’s going into my ever-evolving repertoire of bad words.

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