You may have noticed that, every once in a while, I have a tendency to swear.
I know that some of my readers aren’t too keen on this, but I wouldn’t swear if I didn’t feel it was absolutely necessary, and I wanted to take this opportunity to explain my reasons for occasionally using profanities.
I strongly believe that my job has played a large part in the development of my ‘potty mouth’ in recent years. I have explained before that, thanks to some of the clients, insurance companies and opposition solicitors I am forced to interact with on a daily basis, a large part of my working day is spent dealing with idiots. Even worse, some of them are rude, arrogant, obnoxious idiots. Being subjected to constant abuse in the office, day-in, day-out, will wear even the hardiest of non-swearers down after a while, and I am certainly no exception.
I can support the argument that my job causes me to swear more, by the fact I hear each and every one of my colleagues swear on a daily basis (admittedly some more than others), and our jobs are the one thing we all have in common.
Swearing is a key part of our language
Swearing, whether you like it or not, is part of our language, and I am of the opinion that, every once in a while, a strategically placed curse word can emphasise a sentence or strengthen your point. Swearing, to me, is like seasoning, and I have watched enough Masterchef to know that you should season the shit out of most dishes. If I have learned anything from my many years watching that greasy, frog-faced cretin John Torode, it is that seasoning makes a dish ‘come alive’, and I firmly believe that swearing can do the same to the written word.
Swearing can be funny
As well as being a good way to emphasise your point, swearing can also be funny. I know some people will disagree, but I think swearing can add an element of comedy to a sentence, that other words simply cannot.
If swearing wasn’t funny, comedians wouldn’t swear and, as we all know, nearly every good comedian cusses like a trooper.
Swearing is only offensive if you let it be
‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me’. That, of course, is utter bollocks, as words can be very hurtful when used in a malicious way, but I would argue that swear words are only offensive if you let them be. They are, after all, just words, and the only reason you might find them offensive, is because society has dictated that you should. You find them shocking because that’s the way you have been educated.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t to say I will educate my children to swear, obviously not, but certain words have been labelled as offensive over hundreds of years, and we could quite easily find other words as repugnant if history had dictated it that way.
As an example, there are certain body parts that people might take offence to being called (I can think of at least four off the top of my head), but if history had been formed slightly differently, you might now be insulted if I called you a ‘kneecap’, an ‘elbow’, or a ‘stupid little nostril’.
Sometimes, swearing is the only way
Because swear words are such an integral part of our language, sometimes no other words will suffice. You might have noticed that I occasionally write about BMW drivers, or politicians, or Burnley, and I honestly cannot find any feasible way of discussing these topics without swearing. Look, I consider myself to be a moderately well-educated chap, so it’s not that I’m being a Neanderthal who can’t think of another way to describe something, but if you can form a sentence about George Osbourne without swearing, you are a better person than I am.
So, hopefully we can all now accept that swearing is necessary, useful, and often quite amusing.
The problem I have, however, is that I have found myself swearing more and more in recent years, and this has coincided – entirely accidentally I might add – with becoming a father.
I say ‘entirely accidentally’, but of course we wouldn’t have a high chair, stairgate and thousands of toys if we didn’t have kids, and I therefore wouldn’t stub my big toe at least five times a day, so there are some instances of the boys indirectly causing me to swear, but generally speaking my foul-language is down to other factors, not them.
However, I have already made it clear that even though I consider swear words to be a vital part of our language and communication, I don’t want my sons using them. At least, not yet. If, when he is in his teens, Ollie badly hurts himself and I hear him utter a swear word under his breath, I will most likely excuse that expletive as being in the heat of the moment. It would be hypocritical of me to not.
By the same token, however, if I find out next week that Isaac (who is not yet two) has demanded ‘a fucking biscuit, bitch’ from one of the ladies at nursery, I will inevitably take a harder line – once I have got over the shock of him forming a full sentence without using the words ‘Mummy’, ‘Daddy’, or ‘Peppa’.
For now, at least, I don’t want the children to be subjected to swearing, and certainly not using swear words themselves. Which is difficult, as they tend to be in or around situations where I will often feel the need to swear – going to the football, driving in the car, walking around the house near to highchairs and stairgates etc. – and so I am increasingly having to stop myself from using bad language when I have the overwhelming urge to.
In the car, for example, I am constantly trying to refer to lunatic Audi and BMW drivers as ‘nincompoops’, ‘numpties’ or ‘plonkers’, when I really want to opt for something far stronger involving their mothers or livestock. I also have to try and remember to call the referee a ‘bum-nugget’, or a ‘stupid little nostril’, when I take one of the boys to County with me. And, worst of all, when I injure myself around the home – which happens on a daily basis – I have to scream in pain whilst uttering nothing worse than a ‘damn it’ or a ‘bleeding heck’. It’s not easy.
Sometimes, only screaming ‘fuckity-shitbags’ will suffice.
So, because I have to curb my swearing at home and in front of the boys, it’s refreshingly liberating to be able to drop the odd naughty word into my blog. You people are like my therapy.
P.S. – you can stop thinking of rude body parts now.