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30 March 2010 @ 04:34 pm
More on less swearing...  
I am now approaching the end of the first quarter of this "stop swearing for a year" experiment, and it's going fairly successfully. I am now down to a few slip-ups a week. Until last week, I thought I was the only one on this path, but this weekend, I met someone who was on a similar journey as mine.

"I really don't give a sh...shoot," said my unlikely companion in self-censorship. Give a shoot? "That is just really f...fudged up..." she said later on, biting her lip.

"You don't have to stop swearing on my account," I told her. It was just us in the room.

She explained that she was trying not to swear because she had been called out by her superiors. She said her friends, who swore a lot, weren't helping her habit, and thus she didn't wish to swear at all because it's too easy to slip. I can relate. I also work with an IT staff of those who drop f-bombs like it was Cambodia in the 1960s. She works with computers, which requires a lot of swearing as par for the course.

"$%&@! miniature proprietary irreplaceable screw just fell through a vent! I hate this *&#$@*&#!! vendor!"

To make matters worse, her superiors don't even like when she says, fudge. "I know what you were about to say," they complain. Well, she's sort of employed there for another few years via legal contract, so she's got her work cut out for her. At least in my case, it was voluntary.

The long term effects are starting to accumulate. I find one of the first problems is that expressing satisfying verbal rants are annoyingly diminished. My quality rants that had hard edges and sharp points are often made blunt and pale. I was hoping I'd be more creative in my descriptions, and while my writing has improved overall, my improvisational skills are like those of someone who is not native to the English language.

"This... stupid metro system is full of... dumb slow commuters who can't get out of their... way to let people pass!"

Just as stilted as, "Pepe's red house is next to the library. How much does this hat cost? More towels, please."

Most of the slip-ups are what I am starting to call, "habit phrases." In my case, these are usually lines and quotes from famous movies or comedy routines. The worst of them are Rocky Horror lines, which have more swearing than an army mess hall.

But the rants are the hardest, because anger is a flow that must be let go. Writing has always been my outlet, because I have had such freedom with words. But now... not as much. Here's an example of a rant without swearing where I have to use more flourish to emulate sharp cuts into my object of angst:

One of the things I see frequently on the metro are brain-dead commuters who enter a car and then stop as if their task ends where the gum-stained carpet begins. "I gots on da choo-choo!" Of course, people have to get in behind them, and now this slug with an iPod is listening to some band you and I both hate and getting in the way like an android who suddenly went into sleep mode in the middle of traffic. What makes it worse is that people have to push around them, and while most commuters try to be polite, the person pushed forward acts as if she's being forced to move against all Order and Discipline in the Universe. "Gah?" they seem to say, "Odda people gots to get on da choo choo? Wha?? Dey poosh me!" My cat has the same expression of disgruntlement when I try and push him off the bed because I wish to lay there. Fancy that, I own the bed, my cat is annoyed I moved him. Of course, a commuter rarely piddles on my leg in response, unless I ride a Metro elevator that exits to a DC street.

That took longer to write, because I really wanted to use the f-bomb and s-word an awful lot. I really hate what the Metro ad campaign called "doorkers." Another word is "escalumps" for those that stop right as they get off an escalator.

There's also the game, "is that a swear word?" Like "vagina" isn't a curse, but "stop flapping your vaginal lips, you verbal prostitute!" might be considered as such.

I have gotten past the "shock" of hearing others swear, which was annoying.

Well, here's to a bright swear-free Q2!
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feyandstrange on March 31st, 2010 12:05 am (UTC)
Go you!

I've been trying to cut out my use of religious-based swearing, particularly. As an atheist, it seems pretty stupid and maybe even a bit rude to keep cussing at a Jesus I don't believe in, but I was raised a little Catholic, and as you've learned, swearwords are a habit that you may not even consciously think about.

And there are more than a few new parents who take the "stop swearing" rule on as their kids hit an age where they'll learn those words. Whenever I run across someone doing the "This... freaking little s...stupid d-darnit" like they're self-censoring, I assume they're trying to train themselves out of it lest a toddler pick up words Mommy would rather not hear from their wee lips.