By Gerry Moran
“Foul language can boost group bonding, raise pain tolerance and increase physical strength….. It also eases stress,” according to The Irish Times, on Monday October 31 last. Boy was I glad to read that. Effin glad even! And why?
Because yours truly is prone to peppering his conversations with the F word and a few other choice words if the truth be known. So, there you have it – Gerry Moran indulges in foul language, although I prefer to call it colourful language. I don’t like the adjective foul; indeed I prefer the F word to it any day, or night, of the week.
No wonder then that my pain tolerance is high and my stress levels are low. Huh! Tell that to my wife whose stress levels soar when I swear or curse, if you prefer. She literally peppers when I pepper my sentences with swear words. A case of horses for courses, I guess, or should that be curses for courses!
Now as an aside – I have four children, two boys and two girls; the boys, unlike their father, never use the F word, never swear or curse (to the best of my knowledge) The girls, on the other hand, occasionally indulge in colourful language but I like to think that they do so with flair and panache (and what’s this they say: women for words, men for maths or something like that).
You see cursing (and let’s call it that for argument sake) is all about context. Use an expletive in a wrong scenario and it can, like a grenade, explode in your face. Used in a different context, however, it can be emphatic, engaging, humorous even. It’s also about how you curse! I mean there’s bad, bad language if you know what I mean (which, I’ll admit, can be vulgar and brutal especially when it’s garrulous and loud) and then there’s colourful language ie. cursing with style.
And like style in any walk of life – you’ve either got it or you haven’t. If you haven’t got it then avoid expletives, curses, swear words, whatever. And if you can’t do that well, keep your f***ing mouth shut.
The above, opening quote, by the way, came from the Business Features page of the Irish Times and was penned by Pilita Clark who went on to state that “in the last torrid days of Liz Truss’s government, politicians, journalists and others all turned the country’s airwaves a deeper shade of blue”.
And those opening statements came from a review of over 100 academic papers on swearing that were published in the middle of the British Government’s ‘blue period’ to borrow a phrase (and with apologies to Picasso). Oh, and closer to home wasn’t there a torrent of expletives recently regarding Marc McSharry TD? Although that was more about bullying than bonding.
And maybe now is not a bad time to introduce a wee book that I keep on the top shelf of my study. It’s called Low Speak, A Dictionary of Criminal and Sexual Slang which I purchased for the low, low price of 50p in a second-hand bookshop many years ago. There are some interesting words between the covers of this slim volume, words like Jessie and Jimscreech and if you really want to know what they mean, best ask a Jilter or better still a John Law.
In the meantime here’s a ‘poem’ I penned many moons ago on the topic of cursing and swearing which, when I read it, raises my pain tolerance and eases my stress! We hope.
Some of My Best Friends Curse
Some of my best friends curse.
Thanks be to Jaysus.
Because I like cursing.
Or swearing or whatever it is.
I am, I have to admit,
Fond of the F word
It’s so…so short.
There’s no ambiguity
About that. That’s clear.
But then that’s cursing.
And, of course, I know
That thou shalt not
Take the Lord thy God’s
Name in vain. And I agree
Except when it comes to cursing
Or swearing or whatever
It’s: never in vain
And I don’t think about it
As being God’s name.
Sure ye all know
What I mean.