Cursing 101

It has been said that if a person curses all the time, it is an indication of a limited vocabulary.  Maybe.  Or maybe they just like to say dirty words.

(Not to toot my own horn or anything – like I’d EVER do that! – but I routinely score higher than about 95% of the American population on vocabulary tests.  I know that isn’t saying much, what with most Americans getting all their news off of E! and loving reality TV and all, but what-the-fuck-ever.  I used to read the dictionary for fun, motherfuckers!)

***

When I was much younger, back before the internets all happened (now we can look up random shit like “what does the h in jesus h christ stand for?”), my dad got pissed at a family dinner and said, “Well, Jesus H. Christ!  What did you do that for?” (He was probably talking to me, by the way.)

Me:  Dad, what does the “H” stand for?

Younger brother:  Harold.

We all laughed.  Well, except for my dad.

Hey Dad, here you go:

Jesus H. Christ is an example of slang serving as a profanity.  The expression dates to at least the late 19th century, although according to Mark Twain it was already old in 1850.  Using the name of Jesus Christ as an oath has been common for many centuries, but the precise origins of the letter H in the expression Jesus H. Christ are obscure. While many explanations have been proposed, some serious and some not, the most widely accepted derivation is from the divine monogram of Christian symbolism. The symbol, derived from the first three letters of the Greek name of Jesus (Ιησούς), is transliterated iota-eta-sigma: IHS, ΙΗϹ (with lunate sigma), JHS or JHC. Since the transliteration IHS gave rise to the backronym Iesus Hominum Salvator (Latin for “Jesus, savior of men”), it is plausible that JHC similarly led to Jesus Harnaldo Christ, Harold coming from the mispronunciation of the word “hallowed” of the Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name.” The H has also been said to stand for “Holy.”

“Holy”?  I never knew.  I kinda like “Harold” better.  Thank you, Wikipedia.

***

Then there was the time I was probably 25 years old and I stormed into my parents’ house, all pissy and riled up about something that was so insignificant, I cannot to this day remember why I was mad.

Me:  Shit, shit, shitshitSHIT!  I can’t believe (whatever) happened!!

My dad:  Goddamnit, I told you to stop fucking cussing so much!

He didn’t appreciate it when my mother and I fell out laughing.  He never does, come to think of it.

***

I don’t have children (I think that working at a day care center for four years in high school and college somehow contributed to my decision NOT to procreate).  However, I do appreciate the fact that you parents out there, you are TIRED when you get home and not much of your evening truly belongs to you.  Homework, dinner, “Mama, mama!” and answering questions like “Why is water blue?”

(I asked my non-BF that question last week, by the way.  Now I know why.  But I’m not telling!)

When I was nine years old, I wanted to get my father’s attention.  Granted, this man worked HARD and was always pulling overtime.  I had a stay-at-home mom (thank you, God, I loved her being there!) but Mom gets kind of boring when you are with her all day – you need fresh meat! (no offense, Mom, you’re really pretty cool).  So there was my poor, tired, overworked father, trying to alternately read the paper and watch the news.  I am and always have been a major attention whore, so I decided one really good way for him to take notice of me would be to march back and forth, in between him and the television, all the while chanting, “Damn. Damn. Damn. Damn. Damn.”

I didn’t curse again for about five years.  Again, he didn’t find it amusing.

***

When we were younger, we used to play in the sewers in our neighborhood.  This sounds gross (and it is; however, there wasn’t shit or anything like that in the sewers, just rainwater overflow), but kids will be kids.

I also ate dirt.  And dog food.  Both on a dare.  But that’s another story.

One day, after a heavy summer shower, we were bored so my two brothers and I were in the sewers that lead out to a creek that was by my parents’ house.  [Trust me, I won’t get off my lazy ass next time I’m visiting to walk down there and find out, but I assume that creek is still there.]  Someone had been in the large concrete pipe before us, and had pretty recently spray-painted “FUCK YOU” on the interior of the pipe.  I asked my older brother what that meant.

Him:  It’s a greeting.  A way to say “hello” to people you love.

I’m quite sure he enjoyed the punishment I endured later when I later told my parents “Fuck you! What’s for dinner?’

2 responses

  1. Ah the parental censuring! haha I do that with my kids and my parents did it with me. Good times great memories. 🙂

  2. My dad: Goddamnit, I told you to stop fucking cussing so much!

    GENIUS APPROACH! HA! I fucking love to curse too, and I’m not ashamed of it. I seriously FEEL BETTER after a well-placed “FUCK!” Is that wrong?!??! Some jackass recently tried to make me feel “trashy” or “less of a lady” for talking this way, but it didn’t work. Oh well… 🙂 Are we hopeless causes?!?!? HA!

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