There are lots of people who say that swearing is the result of having a poor vocabulary. Personally, I think this is a load of balderdash and piffle! As a writer, I have – or rather, I hope I have – an extensive vocabulary – but I still find myself in situations when nothing but a swear word will do. For example, a couple of years ago when I was riding my motorbike, when the guy in the car in front of me suddenly stopped literally two hundred meters from a set of traffic lights. The lights were on green and yet he stopped. Even though I was riding a reasonable distance behind him, I still had to swerve to avoid him and ended up clipping his back light with my knee. Fortunately, there was no damage, either to his light or my knee, and yet, as he wound his window down he did not inquire whether or not I was OK, but merely berated me for following too closely. I’m no tailgater! Especially not on a bike, and so I was incensed that he was trying to apportion the blame on to me. I asked him why he stopped and he said that he stopped for the lights. “But the lights were green!” I said, growing ever more incensed. Ultimately, he decided to call the police. When they came, they took me aside and were getting my side of the story, but this guy kept coming over and interrupting. I asked him to go away. The police officer asked him to go away. When he came over for the sixth time, I’d had enough. I turned to look him straight in the eye and shouted, “F**k off!” He kept his distance after that and I noticed that the police officer was trying to keep a straight face. So you see, sometimes, only swearing is sufficient to get your point across.
When it comes to my Mum and swearing, that’s a whole other story. My Mum often says things that are absolutely not swearing by any stretch of the imagination, but she says that they are. One of my favourites from when I was younger, was when she would shout, “Blast and set fire to it! And that’s swearing!” Err…I’ll think you’ll find it isn’t, Mum. Another classic was, “Ninny muggins!” Nope, that’s not swearing either, Mum.
The funny thing is that just recently, I’ve found myself combining both my own love of necessary swearing, with my Mum’s faux swearing. This has resulted in some hilarious, and quite possibly, golden nuggets of semi-faux profanity. Some of my favourites are, “Holly Go-forking-lightly!”, “Fiddleshits” and “Shitake mushrooms on a fork!”
Still, I do still sometimes need the real deal swear words. I recently had a fall and tore a muscle in my leg as well as badly bruising my arm (hence the reason I’ve not blogged for a few days). I shan’t repeat here the words that escaped my mouth immediately after I hit the deck! The thing is though, I think we all need swear words at some time or another. After all, I can hardly imagine Andy Garcia’s Gary Starke in “Just the Ticket” saying to Andie MacDowell, “Sometimes, you just gotta say “Fork it.”