According to “The Real” talk show I recently viewed while in Kansas, several studies agree that cursing can actually be good for us because it shows passion. And according to PSYCHOLOGY TODAY, although frequent, continual cursing shows lack of control or disrespect, occasional cursing provides pain relief, non-violent retribution, and health benefits that include increased circulation and elevated endorphins.
During the thirty years I taught high school English, writing, speech, debate and mock trial, I told students there were two kinds of language: controlled and appropriate speech for public use, and vernacular speech for non-public relaxed speech with friends. The rule of the classroom was that only the first kind of speech was to be used.
Now I have a confession. When I retired and began teaching adult writing workshops and writing groups, it didn’t take long for “Retirement Tourettes” to affect my language. I didn’t swear like a sailor, but if cursing shows passion, all I can say is that there has never been any question I’m passionate about teaching adult writers of articles, essays, short stories, and novels.
My husband Jim just shakes his head and sighs when he overhears some of the words I incorporate while working with writers. He is an active retired teacher and a calm, kind, careful Grandpa with our grandchildren. But ask either of them what he said when describing a cabin we once considered buying, and they’ll shout in chorus, “Shit Creek,” the name of the creek leading to the cabin. They don’t remember any of the other details of the place, but they still love to say, “Tell us again about ‘Shit Creek’, Grandpa.” It’s the only oh-oh word they’ve heard him use, and our entire family fights back laughter because it’s not a case of Potty Mouth, but of Real Estate, right?
My Cursing Tourettes is not my go-to choice, and in my opinion grafitti is definitely unacceptable, but here are some additional thoughts for you to consider:
“Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.” ~Mark Twain
“’Twas but my tongue, ‘twas not my soul that swore.” ~Euripides
“Censorship feeds the dirty mind more than the four-letter word itself.” ~Dick Cavett
“Shocking writing is like murder: the questions the jury must decide are the questions of motive and intent.” ~E.B. White
“Think with the wise, but talk with the vulgar.” ~Greek Proverb
“It is an immense loss to have all the robust and sustaining expletives refined away…At moments of trial, refinement is a feeble reed to lean upon.” ~Alice James