a little east of reality

Sunday, August 28, 2005

gosh darn it!

I've decided I swear too much.

Don't get me wrong. There are definitely times when my frustration level is so high that the only word that really expresses it is a sharp, heartfelt "FUUUUCK!!" This doesn't bother me so much. Three years in a non-English speaking country will do that to you. Whatever cringe factor the f-word (or any of the other words) once had for me was lost in between the fact that most of the crew I hung with swore without meaning to be truly offensive and the fact that almost nobody around us really understood that the words were offensive.

So why am I suddenly getting self-conscious? Two reasons.

One is that it sounds rough. I'm back in Australia now, where these words not only have meaning, but also the power to make people wince. This is especially true amongst the church crowd (most of whom are pretty sensitive to swearing simply because they don't do much of it) but also somewhat true at work. My take on swearing has always been that while I don't care if people swear around me, I do want to be the kind of person who considers the effect of their words on other people. I don't want to always be going for the lowest common denominator like my mother didn't teach me any better. I honestly don't give a toss if I occasionally let a few choice terms fly, but I don't want to swear so often that it's all people remember after they talk to me.

The other reason is that it's starting to become way too easy a pressure gauge release for me. I don't think I should rely on something people find offensive just to calm down or cope. It's also a problem when people think you're really angry, when you're just a little frustrated or annoyed, because of the way you've expressed it. This happened the other night at the video store. I'd brought back DVDs late, as usual, and was trying to decide if to re-borrow a couple I hadn't gotten around to watching. I was pissed off at myself for not realising they were late and suddenly just pushed the DVDs into the return slot and said, "fuck it...I'll get them some other time." The moment I swore, the girl's eyes widened and I realised she thought I was angry at her because of the late fee, etc. And of course I wasn't. But it isn't the first time I've gotten that reaction swearing to (not at) someone in the service industry. And how lame is it to walk around like a little time bomb waiting to go off? Yeah, pretty lame.

Of course the next question is how to stop swearing...

A friend suggested the ole 'swearing jar' idea (where you pay a certain amount each time you swear...good for cursing kids with limited pocket money), but as I'm paying it to myself it's a bit hard to decide what to spend the swearing jar money on without feeling like I'm rewarding myself. ^_^

Any ideas? Anyone else ever tried to curb their unruly tongue? (Ooh, that sounds almost sexual...)