I remember the first dirty joke I told. I was in first grade and back then when the teachers would have to leave the room they would pick a student to be in charge. I was always dumb enough to fall for “being in charge” as though it were an honor. It sucked! Either you let your friends get away with murder and then you took the fall for why the teacher walked back into her classroom to find it had gone all Lord of the Flies in only 6 minutes, or you had to narc out your friends and were left to sit alone at recess making friends with ants.
Well, one day I was lucky enough to NOT be the student left to police the masses. So, as any six-year-old would do in a situation with little adult supervision, I started looking for ways to get attention. And then… my first dirty joke.
The joke wasn’t funny. It was more of a lymeric than a joke really. But it had a bad word in it and so I was amped up to share it.
It goes like this:
There’s a snake, in the grass, watch where you sit, he’ll bite your ass.
That was it! That was my maiden voyage into a dark world of dirty jokes and vulgar cussing.
That day it was a boy in my class who was in charge of putting the ‘bad students’ names on the board while the teacher was out. I burst into tears and begged him not to tell. I cried (and lied) that I didn’t know it was a bad word.
In the end I escaped punishment. But the deed was done. I was a cusser and there was no going back.
I have an odd relationship with curse words at this stage in my life. There are times when saying, “Well, gosh darn it!” just doesn’t cut it. There are also certain people that seem to bring out the worst of my vocal abilities (mostly old ladies and clergy…) More and more though, I find that there are fewer places and people that I find it comfortable to unleash the vocal hounds with. It might be my age. Maybe maturity is finally kicking in?
I have several friends who simply do not cuss. Ever. I admire that. I have other friends who weave tapestries around themselves with language so rough that sailors would be embarrassed. I admire that too.
Is cussing like refined sugar? Moderation is key! I don’t know. I have rarely ever cussed in front of my children and I was just kidding about the old ladies and clergy. I do find myself leaning more and more towards giving up the ‘big dog’ dirty words as a way of life though.
Until I’m 80. I figure when I turn 80 I’ll have earned the right to say whatever I want to whomever I want and get away with it.
What about you? Cusser and fusser? Or are you a gosh-darn-goody-do-gooder?