Brace yourselves, readers, for this most shocking of revelations: I have a bit of a potty mouth. No really, it’s true! I’ve never met a curse word I didn’t like. I relish combining them in innovative and surprising ways to yield original phrases that are equal parts whimsical and offensive. I truly revere swearing for the powerful artistic medium it is. In short, it’s pretty fucking awesome.
Sadly, when we have children, many of our former hobbies must be set aside. For me, that hobby is swearing. Despite my personal affinity for filthy language, I’d rather my son not acquire a taste for the habit. At least until his freshman year of college or he gets his Commercial Driver’s License. At two years old, he is currently in the “parrot stage”. He repeats absolutely everything. I mean he repeats EVERYTHING. Last week while on the phone with my equally foul mouthed husband, I referred to someone as a nutsack. Half a second later, I heard a tiny voice happily chanting “NUTSACK!” from the other room. Yikes. To be fair though, the woman ahead of me in the supermarket express checkout line with 11 items WAS a total nutsack. Every time I accidentally let fly an F-bomb, I picture my son a few years down the road, expressing his distaste for crafting snowmen out of cotton balls by calling his kindergarten teacher a fuckwad. The time to clean it up is long overdue. Shit.
So here I am, on the hunt for adequate substitutes for my favorite expletives. No easy task, friends. But it appears there are some serviceable options out there if you just search hard enough. I’m talking beyond the “oh shoot”s and “frick”s of the world. Creatively applied, they can be nearly as impactful as the originals. One of my current favorites is an agriculturally based substitute for a far more jarring MF-word – you know the one I mean. Take the following (ever so slightly modified) dialog from 1990’s cinematic gem, Pulp Fiction, as evidence of its effectiveness:
Jules: What country are you from?
Brett: What? What? Wh – ?
Jules: What ain’t no country I’ve ever heard of. They speak English in What?
Jules: English, melon farmer, do you speak it?
Brett: Yes! Yes!
Jules: Then you know what I’m sayin’!
Jules: Describe what Marsellus Wallace looks like!
Jules: Say ‘what’ again. Say ‘what’ again, I dare you, I double dare you melon farmer, say what one more time!
Now, isn’t that nice? Another backup plan that I’ve been using lately is inserting random celebrity names in place of curse words. “Jennifer Love Hewett, you scared the Kesha out of me!” Or perhaps, “Jonathan Taylor Thomas, it’s hot out today!” Or, upon stubbing one’s toe, one might exclaim, “Shia LeBeouf that hurt!” See? This one can be hours of fun! Go ahead, try some of your own. I’ll wait…
As you can see, I’m still searching for something with the appropriate oomph. There are certain situations where, whether for emphasis or comedic value, only the old standards will do. So I’ll forgive myself the fact that I’ll never be able to eliminate all the salt from my vocabulary. I can only hope my son grows into a man who understands the value of an artfully applied curse word. And barring that, I’m sure he’ll find his future career as a longshoreman both lucrative and fulfilling.
I’m dying to hear some of your favorite “parent swears” – don’t be shy, lay that shit on me!