Thursday, January 7, 2010

Eff this.

I can't believe another new year, no, new decade is here! This is the 4th decade I rang in, although I have to admit I don't remember anything about the first since I was only five. You actuaries out there can do the math. The rest of you can ponder this other thing: If you dabble in profanity like Tiger Woods in women (is that old material now?) or like I do, and you're trying to raise a kid who preferably doesn't spew obscenities before the age of two, would you a) continue to cuss but make sure you let your kid know it's forbidden because it's adults-only; b) go the substitution route, i.e. "what the fudge?", "eff this!" and "oh shoot"; or c) quit cold turkey (and suffer occasional relapses)?

I've been contemplating my approach lately as swearing is my fifth language. It's not only useful in stressful times but it has become an essential part of my daily expressions. From catharsis ("asshole!") to emphasis ("fuckin' awesome!"), its utility is endless. But with li'l miss copycat on my heels these days, the censor police is on patrol.

Fortunately and surprisingly, her first word wasn't blushworthy. There's hope yet. However, mimicry is still the latest fad around here. Case in point: Shortly after her birthday, while playing with one of her tea sets, I picked up a toy teacup by the handle and pretended to drink from it, finishing with a satisfied, audible "ah". Lo and behold, she followed suit! So now, when I say, drink your tea, she picks up the cup by the little handle and "drinks" it. Pretty hilarious, especially since she's more into coffee.

More recently, whenever I ask her where's daddy/cat/(insert object here) and if they're not immediately apparent, she turns her palms up and looks around questioningly. Useless "trick" but still the cutest thing she's done -- so far. She does the same thing when I ask "what did you do?" after she drops something or chases the cat away. I smell trouble as she's already a natural at acting innocent with her I-don't-know face and her palms turned up, looking around her as if to suggest someone else must have done it. Maybe the dog?

The increasing interaction and recognition of language fascinate me. That also means that while she's learning what she should, this little sponge of mine will also pick up things she shouldn't.  With that in mind, now may be a good time for me to take advantage of resolution season to curb my impressions of a sailor. However, instead of trying not to cuss anymore or in front of Little Miss, I am going to compromise and simply swear like the Brits. Bollocks! Wanker! Bloody hell! Feels a little better than eff this and fudge that -- too puritanical and void of any oomph necessary for occasions that warrant cussing. Did you know bollocks means testicles? Both naughty and amusing. I like. Also, if Little Miss does pick it up, she won't offend half as many people on this side of the Atlantic. Sounds like a win-win to me.

And that's just bloody awesome.


  1. Omg 4 decades, me too! Swearing is an interesting art. Lots of creativity to peeps who create slang. Did u know that a lot of Canadian French swear words are about Catholicism ("tabarnak")? I like the British "bugger" too.

  2. No, I did not know that - and how interesting. Bugger's a good one too and popular when I was growing up. My dad swore in Cantonese and until now, just the thought of some of these words make me blush. That's how bad they are.