I grew up hearing cussing /swearing. I heard it all the time. It wasn’t hard core language that fell on my young ears, just the D word, H word and S word having to do with manure and the oft used A word that referred to one’s posterior and the kicking thereof. Sometimes in great fury or frustration I would hear a G…D…but that was an exception. My family used language that was very salty. They could splice together a whole sentence of h’s, d’s and s’s with a few other words that were self manufactured. I never thought less of these folks, it’s just the way it was. Although girls were not supposed to cuss, once in a while a delicious forbidden word would escape my mouth. I considered the s word a safety valve and usually said it in my own company. Once it escaped after a very long and anxious day when I was not alone and the hearer was a beloved member of my in-law crew. I could see the diminishment of my esteem in the eyes and demeanor of the unfortunate witness. Since then I have tried to control myself knowing that at my age I should have more sense if not more self control. My brother, however, has honed the skill of cussing/swearing to a fine art. His language is legendary. My children would sit at his feet just to hear what he would say and would never be disappointed. He lives in another state and we don’t see each other often, but we telephone. Whenever I report that I have had such a call to my children they always want to know what he said. I recount his stories, words and at the same time get to use wonderful and terrible vocabulary by quoting him. Even when he was in the presidency of a very sacred edifice his expressions never changed. It was as if J. Golden was in the building. I loved to listen just to hear how he could insinuate colorful vernacular into the remotest of provocation. Then the last few times we talked I realized as an afterthought that I heard none of his usual wordage. I thought about this for a while and decided that I had imagined the omission, so I called him. We talked for several minutes and it was confirmed in my hearing that indeed his speech was pristine. I didn’t ask him why the change I just pondered it in my heart. When we talked again I listened with great interest to see if I was imagining the transformation. Damn it, I miss those conversations. I miss the colorful, imaginative, delightful forays into the slightly bad. I love words. I love to form them into patterns and lines and rhythms. I love using the unusual. When things are too sweet or white or usual they become dull and banal. Salt is salt until it has lost its savor.
J NS is a frequent reader and we are pleased to have this contribution.