Curses

Boyleing Points
Typography

I don’t think I know any longshoremen. So, I’ve never heard a longshoreman curse. You still hear the expression that somebody curses like a longshoreman. Others curse like sailors or truck drivers. 

Occasionally I slip some salty language into this column. I think my girlfriends in the Golden Age Club kinda like my swearing. They still like bad boys and they get to curse vicariously.

But hard as it might friggin’ be, I’m gonna try to go this whole column about cursing without cursing.

Someone asked me the other day about cursing in print and why I don’t use asterisks as in sh*t. I dunno, this is the adult section and Kids’ Korner is in the back of the paper. And I try to write like I talk and sometimes I talk like a longshoreman.

Whenever I slipped a curse word into Boyleing Points, my mother would tsk, tsk me and say I’m contributing to the growing coarseness in language, and society as a whole. Which reminds me. In the mid-1970s, my mother and I were playing tennis (I think that happened all of once) and some guy on the court next to us apparently made an error because he shouted F**K! for all the world to hear. Moments later my mother said to me, “I’m getting awfully tired of that word.” 

That was the mid-70s. She had a lot more tired to get.

Seeing a curse word in print is still kinda rare. In the old days, we’d look for dirty words in the dictionary. The bigger the dictionary, the better chance you’d find sh** and fu**.

(For F*** sake, using these *** is killing me). Dirty dictionary to us also included those still-weird words like copulation and fornication. They seem more obscene than the street terms.

I remember, in grade school, reading an Encyclopedia Brown story. A man was riding his horse and when he wanted it to stop he yelled, “Whoa!”

Legit, my eyes almost popped out of my head.  Whoa? 

Now I grew up in Brooklyn — where my last name was sometimes pronounced Berle. 

Whore was pronounced, who-a. So, of course, I think the guy in Encyclopedia Brown is calling his horse a whore. I call my friends over. Look, who-a!

No one corrected me. They looked at Encyclopedia Brown books in a whole new light. It was good, everyone spent more time reading.

Newspapers still seem reluctant to use swear words because I guess they consider themselves “family newspapers.” I’m not sure what families they’re talking about.

Most curse words fly right by me. Every now and then you meet someone who uses the F-bomb every other word. I mean, every other word. It’s so over the top, ya have to laugh. It’s like a stutter, they have to say F***.  No matter what.  It’s effin nice effin weather. How the eff are you? I’m F’n going to the F’n store you want me to F’n pick you up something?  

Cursing is coarse, of course, but using the other side of the vulgarity coin is F’n strange.

Imagine if that guy on the tennis court yelled, “Fudge!” Or “Sugar Honey Iced Tea!”

My mother would’ve been pleased, but I would’ve said, “What the front door did he just say?”

I know, I know I’m on way to H-E Double Hockey Sticks. 

What can I say?  If your kids find a curse word in Boyleing Points, maybe they’ll look back and remember it like I did with Encyclopedia Brown. And maybe they’ll read more.

So, I don’t give a Donald Duck if you think this is bull spit. I do it for the children.

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