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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Column: Cursing is fun, but only in moderation

Curses are damn useful.

Abigail Fisher

Jan. 22, 2014

The opinions expressed by The Maneater columnists do not represent the opinions of The Maneater editorial board.

Ladies and gentlemen, here we are: the beginning of the spring semester. At the end of this semester, I will officially be halfway through this horrific murder show that is college. In case you don’t remember my rants about spilled coffee and lactose intolerance from last semester, I, Abigail Fisher, am here to provide you with whatever you may need, as long as those needs include a roughly 600-word humor column to read each Wednesday.

What each Wednesday has in store for you, I do not know. It could be anywhere from an anecdote to a commentary on the latest injustices of society. Do not create expectations for me, aside from that when you pick up a copy of the latest Maneater and flip to a page with my name on it, there will be something to laugh at.

If you’re not already familiar with my work, I’d like to share a bit about myself and one of my favorite rhetorical devices.

Since birth, I have been intrigued by the concept of curse words. I, like many others, was not allowed to use them in my youth. Now that I am an “adult,” I can let my mouth run free with F-bombs and S-words, as long as my mother is not within earshot. However, it is difficult for me to understand how these words became so powerful.

As we grow, our perceptions of cursing change. Words that used to intimidate and make us run and tattle when heard them on the playground have now become part of our most-used phrases.

But alas, curses are damn useful. I do not know of any other word that can add emphasis to a sentence as well as a properly placed F-bomb. Replacing a kindergarten term with its more mature counterpart can transform a sentence to anything from a simple observation to a rude comment or even a profound statement.

However, something I have learned over my past several years of spewing profanity is cursing is a lot like the real estate business: It’s all about location, location, location. Where you are and whom you are around is the most important rule when it comes to using these vile terms.

While they are fun to use, not all cusses were created equal. Some curse words are debatable as to whether they even qualify as something you shouldn’t say in public. In some cases, a word you could say in front of your parents you would never utter within 30 feet of a daycare center. Some you only say when in front of your closest friends. And then there are the words that make you cringe even when you read them all alone in the comfort and safety of your locked home.

I myself have made mistakes in this realm. Only a few short years ago, I was seated in a Mennonite youth pastor’s office when the explicit version of CeeLo Green’s pop hit “Forget You” abruptly spewed from the speaker of my iPhone. Needless to say, I have since converted, and I’m no longer welcome in the previously mentioned office.

There is a lesson to keep in mind here: Choose your words carefully and consider what kinds of trouble four-letter words can get you into. Be conscious, but don’t be afraid to season your speech liberally with curses when in the right setting. What’s the worst that could happen? I mean, you could be asked to leave a church building and then have to wait outside in the rain for your dad to pick you up. Or, the consumers of your words could simply giggle and appreciate your bravery.

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