The California Legislature, in its infinite wisdom and because it had nothing better to do (read HEAVY sarcasm here) has passed a resolution to make this "No Cussing Week." So what happens to violators? Will they incur a fine everytime they say a cuss word? Can we start by policing the legislators themselves?
Okay, as far as I'm concerned, there's a BIG DIFFERENCE between cuss/swear words and cursing. Cuss words generally involve body parts or bodily functions that we keep private (and for good reason). To me, it doesn't take a lot of creativity to repeat the same three or four words over and over, and they do tend to lose any shock value they may have had after the tenth repeat.
And alas, saying them very easily becomes a habit. I heard very few swear words growing up and, with one rare exception, never said any until I went to college. The things you learn while seeking a higher education! However, I will say (from personal experience) that NOTHING gets you to clean up your language faster than having a toddler follow you around repeating everything you say!
Now back to that difference... While cuss words are the same things repeated over and over, usually with increasing volume, CURSING is creative. Basically you find a way to heap insults, cast aspersions on another person's character or lineage, or just generally hope ugly things happen to them, but without necessarily resorting to the same four or five swear words.
Culturally, some groups seem more proficient at creative cursing. I'm proud to say this seems to be the case with the Irish. Not that they can't toss about their share of swear words, they can! But there's something almost lyrical in some of their cursing, and I've tried to use that with my own Irish characters.
Here are a couple of examples: May she still be alive 'til everyone's sick of the sight of her.
May you be afflicted with the itch and have no nails to scratch with.
And the Irish seem especially fond about invoking the devil: The devil swallow you sideways!
May the devil take him by the heels and shake him.
May the devil cut the head off you and make a day's work of your neck.
So much more creative and fun than simply shouting the F-word!
Do you have some creative cursing to share on this "No Cussing" week?