5 days ago
Monday, February 9, 2015
I had a scuba diving friend who was a teacher in the public school system. She was a bit younger than I but not so much that our upbringings were that different. We grew up not necessarily liking but still respecting our teachers and elders. Cursing was reserved for the boys behind the shed while smoking corn silk.
Thus dealing with that current crop of kids who enjoyed freely cursing was a challenge. She was better equipped than I however to handle it. One day as we were decompressing between dives, she entertained the group with the following account.
One day as she was redirecting some smoking teens to the designated smoking area, she heard one of them infer under their breath that she was a "motherfu***r".
Calmly, she looked right at the offender and said, "You do realize that is a biological impossibility don't you?" With just a handful of words she left the whole group of teens silent and struggling for a comeback that wasn't there.
"Oh Yeah??" lost its punch.
In an effort to address the growing problem, she presented her classes with a challenge. She gave them a week to come up with alternative curse words that used no common crude terms but got the message across. Her prize for the most creative offer was not a good grade but 4 tickets to the local movie theater. A couple of cheap dates for the guys or girls night out for the gals was worth the effort.
Not sure what response she would get, she was quite impressed with the creativity of the student's efforts. Oddly for that week, the halls were almost absent of the usual profanity. Her kids had spread the word and it seems everyone wore quizzical expressions as they tromped the halls mentally seeking alternative expletives and labels.
Some of the entries at the end of the week were:
Scrawny gyp ( gyp, aka female dog)
Bundle of poo
A real brick (and not in the good sense)
Son of a gyp
These were just a few of the many entries that I can remember. While the intent didn't change a bit, the language was a definite improvement especially for the innocent passersby.
The winning alternative expression that week was a term that I still use today. It offends no one but gives me an expression of amazement ideal for public places or with friends. I find it perfect for those times I might be inclined to exclaim, "Holy sh**."
While not for everyone, the winning phrase, "great bounding butterballs," does the trick quite nicely for me. I thank her and her kids for my alternative vocabulary.
One of my favorite football coaches, Bobby Bowden, was almost as famous for his "Dadgummits" and his great sense of humor as being a winning coach. I miss his witty interviews and out of respect for him, I do sometimes break out a "dadgummit" as a salute to a great coach.
Now I still do keep the "F" bomb in reserve for extreme, sudden pain or when witnessing an impending accident or after one of my own. By using it sparingly, it keeps its power. Other wise, I tend to keep things pretty clean. "Crap" is still pretty much my go to word.
While reading Cranky Old Man's post the other day another phrase got added to my list as his wife used the term "for crispy sake." New to me and I loved it. Cranky normally sprinkles the more common expletives in his funny posts so this one jumped out. I will borrow it. Thanks Cranky.
Is your language chaste or sometimes colorful? Do you have alternatives that you keep handy when the grand kids or old ladies are in the room? I am always looking for new ways of expression in a more creative manner.
at 5:16 AM Posted by Arkansas Patti