The first time I used the “F%@&” word was a life changing day.
I recently read an article from Huffpost that explained a scientific study had shown that intelligent people use more swear words. I took me back to a pivotal day during my first summer job.
“Researchers at Marist College in New York say
a big vocabulary of curse words is a sign of higher rhetorical skill,
and those that can name the most swear words in one minute
tend to have a greater overall vocabulary.
These findings challenge the stereotype that people curse
because they can’t find more intelligent things to say.”
I was sixteen years old and loving my first summer job as a playground supervisor. I had earned the approval to work evening shifts, on my own. I was ever so proud of myself.
Just before closing time, equipment had to be put away in the storage area located under the recreation building hall. A heavy metal door to that area was always kept locked. A few of the bigger boys offered to help put away the equipment.
These boys had initially been a handful, but we had gradually won them over. Another younger boy who had some anger/mental health issues liked to hang around the older boys. He was on a visit home from a treatment center and would often come by the playground. That evening he too offered to help close down the playground.
I found myself in the storage area stacking equipment as they brought it to me. All of a sudden I heard the metal door slamming shut behind me. I turned around to find two of the bigger boys and the other boy with anger issues in the room with me. The two bigger boys began goading the other boy to ‘GO GET HER’.
I laughed at first and then realized they weren’t joking in any way. The younger boy was coming at me with both arms extended and a dazed look in his eyes. For a split second I froze. BUT then my brain kicked into gear.
I knew all of these boys swore and used ‘bad language’ among themselves. It had been a major issue that we had to tame if they wanted to use the playground. In fact I had heard the senior supervisor use cuss words to get their attention and change their behaviour. He was speaking in ‘their language’ and they got it.
I knew what I had to do!!!!!! I started using the “F%@&” word as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb – you name it. I also whipped myself up into the best performance of an angry, powerful and totally abrasive female. Their jaws dropped and the young boy stopped dead in his tracks. I continued my diatribe and threatened police action if they didn’t open the “F%@&”ing door and get the “H@#% “out.
Their exit was swift and I could hear them saying “SHE’S “F%@&”ing NUTS”. My thumping heart kept up for a while. I finished up, locked down the facility and went home. My fear subsided once I got home and told my parents. They were super proud of me and said I had done the right thing, despite my language. As my Dad said “sometimes you have to fight fire with fire”.
Fortunately I didn’t have puritanical parents who would have dropped over dead at the mention of a swear word. Had that been the case – I might not have ‘saved my butt’ that day. At the very least – my self confidence would have been shattered. Instead, it grew due to the episode.
So to return to the Huffpost article – it made a WHOLE LOT of sense to me. Now don’t get me wrong – I don’t swear and curse as a daily activity. I am an intelligent person and some of ‘those’ words can be not only attention grabbing, but also help to make a point. I don’t shy away from them, if they are the best and clearest vocabulary choice.
To get a quick understanding about intelligence and swear words, check out this short video. Cross my heart – you will not see or hear any swear words!!
For those of you who prefer a more ‘colourful’ video – you can check out this short and pointed one!! WARNING – if bad language offends – don’t look or listen to this one. Just sayin’………
I’m pretty sure there are a lot of you who are intelligent, well spoken and quite able to use swear words appropriately and effectively – just like me. Please share a great story of yours that reflects some of the ‘goodness’ of swearing. I love hearing another person’s story.
I’m sure that some of you who are intelligent and not comfortable with ‘bad language’. Perhaps you don’t mind hearing it, but you don’t want to speak it. Perhaps it’s a total dislike. Tell us your story too. Let us know how you got to that belief. Sharing your story is always a good way to promote understanding.
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