Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Imagine me, circa 1991, lying on a trampoline with my cousin and cousin's friend, laughing as they try to get me to say words like "crap" and "shoot".  For real - those actual words.  They really just weren't in my vocabulary, and I felt (and sounded) ridiculously unnatural trying to use them.

By high school/college, that had changed, and I could pseudocurse with the best of them.  I've always been partial to the word "crap," using it when I forget something, drop something, feel stressed.  It's my go-to word, evidenced by the fact that Adam has adopted it.

I can't say I've never used the real curses.  A few friends who shall remain unnamed did encourage my occasional swear, but I'm pretty sure that's only because I sound ridiculous when I swear, and it makes everyone laugh.  I'll stick with the pseudos.

It's funny to me, though, how the pseudocurses morph over time.  Just as every generation comes up with new slang for "cool", there are also new pseudocurses that didn't exist when I was in high school.  At the top of the list: "Eff."

I'm pretty sure we said, "flippin'" back in the day.  At some point, that morphed to "freaking," its lazy cousin "frick" and the counterpart, "friggin'".  And now, common especially in LDS speech patterns, you'll hear, "Eff this," "What the eff?" as well as the adjective "effin'" and plain old exclamation, "Eff!".

I'm a late adopter of most fads, holding off until their just on the cusp of not being the thing anymore.  I don't know why this is, but it holds true for clothing, music, and apparently popular slang.  And it was certainly true of "eff."  It just sounds stupid to me.  And yet I've recently found the when I drop something or realize I have a ton of homework I just don't want to do, the word I think is, "Eff."

What happened to "crap?"  Well, that's still the one I say.  I'm not comfortable enough with "eff" to say it out loud all that often.  I mean, it's a freaking letter.  (Yep, just said freaking.)  If it wasn't for all the digital communication, I wonder if it would even have an adopted spelling.  Really, it seems quite silly as a pseudocurse, and I feel quite silly saying it.  Yet, I do.

And then there's the "it's not a curse because I used an acronym" curses.  LMAO or its stronger statement LMFAO.  Kirk uses these.  They're easy for me to avoid, because I don't usually even LOL.  I'm more of a "hahaha" spelled out kind of girl.  But they always seem to present some moral dilemma for me.

I say "Oh my gosh," all the time.  So I could legitimately text "OMG," right?  But I don't, because I worry that the person on the other end with think the other OMG, and I've caused them to take the Lord's name in vain.  And does the acronym take on its own, new meaning?  If I say LMAO, does it just mean "I'm laughing pretty hard here," or does the person on the receiving end deconstruct it to its whole-word parts, arriving at a curse I'd never have used out loud.

Oh, how 10-year-old Andrea would look at me disdainfully.  "You're far too intelligent to fill your sentences with meaningless fluff.  Try an adjective that actually means something," she'd say, laughing at her horrible attempts at using the word "dang" correctly in a sentence.

To which 30-year-old me says, "Eff that."


The Dave Blog said...

I "LOL'ed" at this. I have had similar thoughts, and yet there's something satisfying about dropping an "eff" in a text, that doesn't make one feel like they need to talk to their bishop. I will say this though - outside of Utah, this phenomenon is significantly reduced. Personally, I prefer the Utah version

Evette Mendisabal said...

LMAO here! I'm not even going to go into what goes through my mind, however you've provided plenty of food for thought! ;o)

Katie said...

I remember when Liz came out to visit and introduced me to a whole slew of new slang I'd never have imagined. I'm personally one to spell things out and try to sound as sophisticated as possible. When I read the acronyms, the real curses go through my head, so I've never been comfortable with all the text lingo. I'm also pretty bad at pseudocursing, so I generally just avoid it altogether. But that's me...

PhilHall said...

Someone once told me that cursing is a mindless reaction, and we can simply choose not to react, which is far more effective than "replacing" curses. I think it was unnatural to you because you don't (didn't) mindlessly react.

Of course, I do it all the time... and may even be one of the unnamed... so...