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The Art of Cussing

By Sarah Larson | Comment Diversions | April 28, 2010 |

By Sarah Larson | Comment Diversions | April 28, 2010 |

I went to high school with a girl who couldn’t swear properly. Oh, she certainly tried, but the results were just sad to witness. Once, when she found out she failed a quiz, she said, “Oh, snot!” and then immediately gasped and went, “Oops, pardon my French!” She said stuff like that all the time. She was honestly convinced that “dangit” was one of the most profane words in the English language. I have no idea what sort of bizarro, Puritan parallel universe she inhabited, but somehow people here in the real world were able to see her and interact with her and hear her stupid pretend swearing.

Of course, on the opposite end of the spectrum, there are the people who overuse “fuck” to the point that it loses all meaning and just becomes white noise in between the actual content of their sentences. Some folks swear so often and with such a lack of flair that it’s impossible to tell when they’re actually worked up about something.

Cussing properly is an act of linguistic balance, and those with particular finesse can raise it to an art form. When they get their angry rant on, bystanders end up flushed and breathless with excitement and indignation. They can shame the most jaded soul with their adroit reprimands, and there is never any doubt about whether they’re genuinely agitated.

Swearing can be so much more than mundane when deftly employed. What’s your favorite creative curse word or profane expression?

Sarah Larson lives in Minnesota, where she is usually up to no good. She doesn’t believe in profanity, because she is a LADY and she comports herself as such (this is a straight-up lie). She can be reached by email here.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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