October 31, 2011
My son has been trying to teach me to swear. Also to drink beer, but that’s another story. Although I won his surprised respect when the one beer I thought I might be able to learn to like was a very hoppy dark local brew (always buy local!) that he thought too intense for my so novice tastes. My daughter, too, thinks I should loosen up on swearing.
I’ve been practicing. The last time the cat escaped (she’s a rescued stray, so unlike my raised-indoor cats, she covets the outdoors) I actually said sh*t. Very deliberately.
I don’t know that it made me feel any better.
So why learn to swear? Because I’ve come to suspect that not swearing, like several other behaviors of mine, was a pattern I adopted to ‘be’ someone, rather than a true choice. I’ve written about / questioning who we think we are /. Not to change ourselves, necessarily, but to ensure that the beliefs we hold about ourselves and the world really are what we think right, and not just habits.
Swearing is one of the ways I’m testing who I think I am versus who I might be, if I strip away some of the possible illusions I’ve wrapped myself in.
It may be that I find I don’t see the point of swearing. (Although I’ve always felt Terry Pratchett got it exactly right when he wrote that, after hitting your thumb with a hammer, a rational, well-considered “Oh random fluctuations of an indifferent universe” doesn’t have the same satisfaction of a simple, short Anglo-saxon epithet.
You can see, then, why I thought this so delightful: