Day 247: My Parents Taught Me to Swear

swearing in cartoon Suomi: Kiroileva sarjakuva...
swearing in cartoon Suomi: Kiroileva sarjakuvahahmo Nederlands: Schelden en vloeken in strips 粵語: 粗口 中文: 罵髒話 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My parents taught me to swear, sort of. To be completely accurate they taught me the more or less appropriate times to swear. I say more or less because in my grandmother’s opinion there is absolutely no situations in which cursing or swearing (pick whichever word works for you) is appropriate. However I was taught a slightly different definitions of “bad words” them a lot of kids. My sister and I were not allowed to use any form of racial slur. I remember asking mom what somebody meant when they used the term faggot, she told me that it was an ugly slang term used for homosexuals and that the non slang meaning was kindling for a fire. I was confused as to how a word that meant firewood could have anything to do with a gay person. She went on to explain that when burning at the stake was an acceptable form of the death penalty for crimes such as heresy and witchcraft men who were guilty of homosexuality were tied to wood stacked around the state of the convicted witch or heretic and burned with them. I think I was seven or eight years old when I was told that. I have never used that word to mean anything other than firewood in my whole life.

We were never allowed to swear gratuitously and our everyday speech didn’t contain them but we were allowed to swear in extraordinary circumstance. For example my parents never blinked or chastised me when I swore because the anesthetic from a surgery caused me to throw up or because of pain associated with surgery. Also when a very good family friend was murdered while eating in a restaurant when I was nine and I screamed and cursed a blue streak at the universe for several hours.

My parents taught me that words are much like firearms and knives. Words are tools which can have just as much impact as a gum or knife , to not only use my words but choose them careful because you never know what lasting effect they have.


One thought on “Day 247: My Parents Taught Me to Swear

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  1. I never new the origins of the word faggot, I find language and peoples reactions to it fascinating, but I must admit it was me who taught my sweet mother how to swear, she swore at me once then told me off for teaching her the word. Your mother sounds like a very wise woman.

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