To swear… or not to swear?


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I have lived long enough to see how swearing evolved in my personal life. Although we have a choice or a right, swearing is unnecessary. Are we projecting our own doom?

In my class we are studying Hamlet. Shakespeare was one of the many literature masters that knew how to write and extol the way we should feel on paper without swearing. Other writers have something common-they are good at communicating without the flavorful words we use today.

I like to use positive words because I like to show some example of respect. I did this often when I used to counsel teenagers. A UK neuro-linguistic programmer named Brian Costello said “If you can influence the way people think, then you can change the way they feel…and if you can influence the way they feel, then you can change their lives.”

A good rule of thumb is to stop, think and rephrase. Don’t say ” I am having a F…ing bad day,” but say “I am not having an amazing day.” I promise, you will totally feel better at the end of the week if you do this.

I know it takes a lot of effort to keep from swearing, but maybe you do have a real medical condition. I found two medical conditions that may be the source of this problem, and they are called Tourette’s Syndrome and Coprolalia. So unless you have a note from the doctor that gives you the right to swear, try not to.

Russell Peters, a renowned international comedian, compares words from different countries and in a humorous way explains that words may mean something entirely opposite. In other words, you may think you are swearing, but in a different language you may be really embarrassing yourself.

The etymology from the Old High German, the F word means to “plow in the field.” The original Indo-European root means “I have sex with,” and the Greek noun references to a belief that the west wind Zephyrus causes pregnancy. So in the heat of a argument, you might blurt out your favorite expletive not realizing you are saying let me “plow in the field”.

In 2009, Adrian Peel wrote an article “Swear Words as a Tool for Comedians” How Expletives Enrich Comic Language wrote “As far as comedy is concerned, no one is suggesting that every show should be riddled with swear words, but when they are used, they should be used sparingly and appropriately and timed to perfection in order to elicit maximum audience reaction.”

It is important to remember who you are with when expressing thoughts and feelings through bad language. Some people can, and will, be offended no matter how flavorful a word you choose. In either situation, it is merely a case of choosing your moment, and your audience, very carefully.

In the newsroom we are constantly picking at each other. We have a cup that says “No swearing.” Each time you bad mouth, you put in a quarter. Maybe we should make the newly built fountain a place where we can combine our coins for every single swear word we use on campus. I think we would solve our financial crisis immediately, and feel good at the same time.