August 30, 2015 by Stephen Bentley
Cussing, Swearing: Family Tales, Minions and Other Thoughts
It was this article in Time that got me to think about this topic Nine Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Swear Words | TIME.com
While it is an interesting read it doesn’t tell the whole story from my point of view. Please let me give you a few thoughts of my own on cussing and swearing.
As kids we were raised in Liverpool, England. Our mother was a quiet soul and Dad was a police officer in Liverpool. He had a total abhorrence toward anyone that swore in front of Mum. To this day I do not know if he found out about this episode. My younger brother Peter had returned home from school and inquired of Mum whether there was anything to eat. Mum had this aggravating habit of answering this question by simply saying, “Three jumps up”. She was pushed on this once and asked what it meant. She explained that to see if there was anything to eat us kids would have to keep jumping up to peep inside the pantry cupboard to check if there was food. Yeah – stupid I know. Peter came home and got the usual answer from Mum to his inquiry. Peter had learned a new word in school. He responded to the aggravating ‘Three jumps up” by telling Mum to “Fuck off”!!
The quiet matronly figure metamorphosed into a whirling dervish. She grabbed a wooden baking spoon and whacked him so hard several times on the bony part of the elbow! That went into family folk lore but I am not sure Dad was ever told about it.
But Peter wasn’t the only one to commit this type of faux pas. Mum and most of the rest of the family attended a family gathering in the North of England. My ex-wife’s niece from Australia was visiting at the time so she came along too. Her name is Mary. Mary, like a lot of young Aussie females, had a wide swearing vocabulary. I decided to warn her about not swearing in front off my Mother. OK she responded – “no worries Unc.” True to her word Mary kept her fulsome cussing and swearing vocabulary well contained. However, as the night wore on and I had consumed a lot of alcohol, I turned to my side and spoke to my cousin. Whatever I said involved an invocation of the F word. Someone tapped me on my shoulder to indicate Mum was stood immediately behind me! She never said a word to me about it but then again I think I may have been her favorite! Before Mary left to return Down Under she also renamed our dog. He was a snappy little terrier who was always yapping and jumping up on the couch. Mary used to push him out of the way so she could sit down and he would yap and snarl. Mary simply used to yell “Fuck off” at the dog. She did this so many times the dog began to answer to that name!
On my travels I also noticed another thing about swearing. It’s kind of strange that many locals are keen to tell you their cuss words and similarly learn English ones. As a result I am now building up a whole new vocabulary of Thai and Filipino words. The strangest and most amusing encounter I had in this category was educating a Thai bar lady as to the relative uses and meanings of both the F word and the C word! That was entertaining.
Swearing and cussing has also infected the world of Minions. Minions have been the in thing in 2015. They get everywhere including McDonalds where they are used as promotional aids. One You Tuber posted a video of a talking Minion and asked the question “can you hear it swear?”
As one gets older swearing and cussing becomes a less frequent habit. Or at least it has in my case. I reserve it now for idiots on the road who I see doing crazy things. Sometimes I use it when a moment of stress or frustration envelops me. It helps me relieve the stress and frustration.
Cussing and swearing constantly is tiresome. Swear words can be wonderful at times in order to emphasize or just to be plain funny. However that’s the old school in me. It seems to be de rigeur nowadays for youngsters to constantly cuss and swear in public. Good job Dad is no longer with us. He would not have approved at all!Follow Me On Social Media