Don’t Say the “M” Word

This was first published on my Blogger blog, January 24, 2005.

Oh my gosh. Good grief. Holy cow. Monkey tails. Innocent sayings in lieu of profanity. It warms my heart to hear my children, playing in the back room (they get one hour of video game time on school nights) to hear them exclaim, “Oh my gosh! He stole my hat AGAIN.” (Gosh, instead of taking God’s name in vain).

We must be doing something right. In today’s society it seems the norm for people/children to simply utter curse words. I can’t preach too loudly, I rather have a potty mouth on me – especially when I’m angry. (I have a fierce temper!) It makes me feel proud and guilty all at the same time when the kids are quick to point out, “Mom! You said a bad word.” Does it make it okay to say curse words when you’re angry?

What’s the alternative?

I tell my children, “it’s sometimes okay to say bad words when you’re angry.” Their eyes grow large and you can just tell they are dying to try out a few, just let them roll off the tongue, all in the name of “testing the waters.” However, I have yet to hear them. I do hear Dude mumble under his breath from time to time and as long as I don’t actually “hear” the words, I let it go. But is it okay to teach them to curse under duress?

I suppose my rationale for that is – it’s better than hitting or throwing something. It’s better than verbally hurting another individual for their own bad mood/disappointment. It’s better than them holding in the anger and turning to drugs or something equally damaging. In my book, it’s the lesser of two (or several) evils. Does that make it right?

What exactly is offensive about these “bad” words? After all, they are only words. A series of letters put together in a random order. And have you ever wondered who exactly deemed these words “bad?” My boys ask me that sometimes, I have no clue. Not only is it decided that that particular word will be considered “foul” but what motivates people to agree? I mean, for instance, I could start a rumor that the word “mud” is now a bad word. If you say mud, then you’re a bad person and should have your mouth washed out with soap. (Soap: a dirty word for some people, let me tell you).

“But why is mud a bad word?” you might ask. “Because it implies all things dirty, therefore, it’s a bad word.” I guess if my explanation sounds good, you might go along with it and say, “Okay. From here on out, mud is a dirty word.” Now comes the problem of publicizing it. Does one pay the media to start running ads about the newest taboo word? Can a person go to the bank and say, “I’m wanting to borrow some money so I can advertise the newest curse word.” Are bad words the product of a domino affect? For instance, have you ever played this game: stand outside in a crowded area, look up and point. Act fascinated. I GUARANTEE you’ll have people stopping around you and looking up to see what you’re looking at.

Is that how the birth of a bad word happens?

Someone just says, “My pigs were having a heyday in the mud today.” *GASP* “Please tell me you did not just say the M word.”

“The M word?” your confused friend asks.

“Yes! Haven’t you heard?” (This would be a good time to look around for any people who might be listening. Really heighten the suspense). “It’s a bad word,” you hiss.

Are people so willing to fit into society that they would go along with it? What does that say about our society?