I heard my colleague say a bad word! I never heard her use one before. She was severely provoked, which has always been a good reason for profanity. Still, I was surprised. When this friend drops a swear word, you know that things are serious.
Can I just be controversial and defend profanity? We need bad words. We need 'em! There are times when a simple, "shoot!" won't do. There are moments when you are pushed to the point where only the F Bomb adequately describes what you need to say. There are people for whom the name "jerk" does NOT tell the story.
We need the bad words. We need all the words. We need some more words, too....some that haven't been invented yet. (My youngest son invents a lot of very fine words. Maybe I'll give him an order to fill.) When you think about extremes of your life, you'll find that the words we have aren't always big enough. That moment when you first hold your newborn child in your arms isn't fully described by "happy", "love", "ecstatic" or "thrilled". It's ever so much more than that.
And there are times (whole days even) when "angry", "frustrated" or "infuriated" are completely inadequate to the rage that boils inside you. When things go wrong enough, for long enough, "Oh sugar!" doesn't release that much frustration. But a good, solid, "OH SHIT!" can really relieve the tension.
We wouldn't have all these many words if we didn't need them. They all describe the shades upon shades of meaning which is the human experience. Good words, strong words, happy words, sad words -- even the dirtiest, most vulgar word you know says something meaningful and describes something that no other word quite does. That doesn't mean we should use the words carelessly, but then, if you've been reading me for any time, you know that I don't think we should use any word carelessly.
I'm a big fan of meaning what you say and saying what you mean. The only way to do that is to choose the words which most clearly express what you wish to say. And sometimes you just need to say "F it."
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