I find language interesting. I find cussing not so interesting.
Do you remember when you started cussing?
Do you remember the first time you dropped the F-bomb?
Do you remember when your explicative of choice became your explicative of choice?
I remember these things like yesterday. Is that not just a little bit sad?
I remember the first time I ever cussed. I heard a word, it might have been the F-bomb, and I asked my elementary school teacher what it meant. To the teacher’s credit, she knew I was asking an innocent question. I didn’t get into trouble; just told that it wasn’t a word used by children and that I should ask my parents about it.
I remember the first time I intentionally dropped the F-bomb. I was out in the yard, really close to the street with a friend. I have no idea what we were talking about, but for some reason I thought using the “F” word was completely appropriate. My friend accepted it without question. I, on the other hand, felt the inappropriateness of it seep into my bones. I decided at that moment that I would probably never use the word again.
I can’t say I never said it again; but I don’t remember ever saying it again.
I also remember the day I chose my explicative of choice. My brother said “Crap!” for some unknown reason. As a good little brother, I went immediately tattle on him to our mother. I was told by my mother that it wasn’t a cuss word, that it only meant “mess.” At that moment, that became my explicative of choice.
To say it more correctly, that became my word of habitual use.
Cussing is just that. They are words we habitually use. They come without thinking. It is second nature for us to use these words, whatever they may be.
I’ve noticed that we usually develop the habit as young children. We think we sound like adults, like our moms and dads. We start using these words on a regular basis, imitating the adults we look up to.
The problem is, we rarely seem to ever grow out of that childish use of the language.
Think about it. People don’t cuss because they are adults. They cuss because they are used to using those particular words. They have used the exact same words, habitually so, since they were little kids.
How much do you want to bet that the “adults” they were imitating went through the exact same experience.
I’ve come to the conclusion that “cussing” is the language of children. It is that which we habitually use, beginning as kids. It is the absence of maturation in our speech, instead being a stagnation of the tongue.
Are there any words that you wished weren’t so quick to escape your lips?