My eldest son likes to cuss, curse, and swear. Profanity prevails in his speech pattern. Fulmination flairs when he does. He’s eighteen, a creative, an explorer, a curious learner, and a wonderful guy who just happens to love words which send my husband into shock while sounding like fingernails clawing the chalkboard to me.
But my son adores this language. He revels in its explosive sounds using it as often as possible and in as many expressive ways as he can think of. His verbal discharges go off at every turn no matter the time of day, night, or situation. As a mother I am at times offended, astounded, embarrassed, or (and this is the worst one) beset by feelings of maternal failure.
When my son was younger he created his own curse words—words I could not deny the use of because “technically” they were not bad or banned. My son used these suspicious words daily as he marched toward the open doors of adolescence. One word, bodo, was an often used utterance I merely grew tired of hearing at the time. I assumed rightly that this word phase would soon pass. My mistake was misunderstanding where bodo was leading.
It occurs to me however (only in my calmer moments after breathing measured counts both in and out for ten minutes)that my current maternal state of angst and need for a “curse free” vacation clouds the true issue…just a bit.
Cursing is not new in the grand history of humanity. It’s certainly not new during the tumultuous transition time we all face between childhood and adulthood. And let’s face it: Such emotionally infused word choices may be as old as the prairie out here in Iowa. I’m sure the native peoples in these whereabouts had a few choice words for the many, many variations of biting thorns growing in and among the grasses.
I suspect also that people have been making up cursing words and phrases in every world language, dialect, and regionalism for centuries. After all, sound and word play are fun and seem to discharge a bit of our built up emotions. Avoiding maternal irritation may be an added benefit to creating new sound combinations.
So could it be that cursing is good for us?
My son would say “yes”. And who am I to judge? Our shared heritage basks in a number of utterances which seem to cross the line into the cursing genre. These utterances in their heyday,when people still spoke the old country languages, were acceptable and common within the culture…
even with mothers.
Check back soon for Common Cursing: Part II which boasts actual video footage of my Minnesota relatives (can you believe it?) possibly…(this is hard for me to admit)…using language that may be considered…cursing. Until then, Huffff…da!