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A Tapestry of Obscenities

By Mrs. Julien | Comment Diversions | December 8, 2012 |

By Mrs. Julien | Comment Diversions | December 8, 2012 |

When I was an ESL teacher, a young man who called himself “Dragon” (it actually worked) made a presentation to the class about cursing in English. To set himself up, he drew a chart on the board and carefully filled it in with obscenities. Well, he started to before I leapt up and made him erase everything. Given special dispensation to say the words instead, he went on to explain that swearing in English is largely divided between the religious, and bodily functions. I’d never thought of it that way, but it made sense.

Because there were one or two things Dragon wasn’t even allowed to say, I supplemented his presentation with some explanations of my own, warning against the use of certain words while desperately trying not to use them. I delicately brought up the c-word (yes, we give it too much power, blah, blah, blah, I was in a CLASSROOM!) and told them that if they knew it, they mustn’t use it. Behind me, a matter of fact voice said, “Oooh, cu*t.” I instantly whirled around and whipped a marker at Dragon’s head while he ducked and protested “It wasn’t me! It was him!” pointing at the man next to him. Covering my embarrassment with, “Now you understand the effect it has on people!”, I later had to confess the incident to my (female) boss. Her entire response was, “Good.”

Pajiba has given me many things: Lars and the Real Girl, The Wire, something to fill my begreyed cubicle existence, html tag knowledge, this gig, improved grammar, and the following precious exclamation: JESUS SUFFERING FU*K! But I feel the need for something fresh and offensive. What do you enjoy saying in moments when the mot juste is profane? Do the international Pajibans have any delightful contributions to make?

Note: The Dowager Julien is clergy and has informed everyone in the family at least once that she doesn’t mind swearing, but she draws the line at blasphemy. It’s a shame really - Pater Julien had a particular gift for grinding out, “What the Christ?” in moments of frustration. The Dowager Julien herself enjoys a well-placed “shit!”, and the only time I ever heard her say, “Fu*k!”, I called all of my siblings immediately to share my joy.

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