NORMAN — Let’s pretend someone stops you on the street and shoves a microphone and camera in your face.
You, my friend, are about to be interviewed on live television. More than likely, it is one of those “Ignoramuses on the Street” segments which tend to draw attention to Average Person’s paucity of knowledge. There are two stipulations: (i) you have to answer several questions quickly and honestly and (ii) if you do not understand the question or the meaning of a word, stop the interviewer and ask for clarification. Viewers at home, feel free to play along.
Are you a cursing aficionado?
“Wait. What’s afic . . ., whatever?”
“A fan, devotee or fanatic.”
When it comes to cursing (also known as swearing), do you think you have heard it all? Do curses fall trippingly off your tongue? Do you indulge in conversational cursing with men and women alike? If so, how long has your sensitivity filter been on the frizz?
Are you capable of carrying on a brief conversation without frequently dropping your limited repertoire of four-letter bombs? Do you even care what goes from your mouth to other people’s ears?
“Your stock cuss words. Buy a dictionary.”
Are you able to curse for five minutes without repeating yourself? If so, you must be British. (See explanation below.) Or, do you feel that you’re swearing vocabulary is in a rut?
If you answered “yes” to any or all of the foregoing questions, then you may be interested in expanding your vocabulary, swearing and otherwise, beyond the mundane four-letter variety.
“He . . . heck yeah!”
Reporter waves off the geni-ass and turns to face the camera.
What if, in the interest of expanding our cussing capabilities and additional stealth education to folks like our friend, colleges and universities offered classes in Creative Cursing? Would students be eager to learn something new and different? Would the colleges have to open up extra sections to accommodate the demand? In other words, would Creative Cursing 101 become the most popular class in college?
What about you? Would you be curious and sign up for Continuing Education classes just to take such a course?
A resounding “Yes!” erupts from an eager nation.
Are you surprised? This nation may have its roots in Puritanism, but the vernacular of the people is not exactly holy. It is, in fact, unimaginative, boring, and quite crude at times. Let’s face it folks, American English is handicapped when it comes to swear words. All because those darn Pilgrims decided to cruise over to the New World in order to escape the Church of England’s religious tyranny; and imposed similar intolerant tyranny here.
Creative Cursing classes would be a unique way to introduce the study of Shakespeare’s plays along with the creative form of cursing he helped raise to an art form. People are going to cuss, so why not give them the tools to be clever instead of uncouth.
To show you how dull those frequently used words are, the F-bomb can be a noun, a verb, or an adjective. No creativity in that is there?
When we travel outside of the US, the same words can and do have different and sometimes even offensive meanings. This is true with Britain, even though we share a common language. In fact, according to a new British acquaintance, “the British have mastered the art of cursing.”
For example, if you say “bloody h_ll” or “little bugger” in Britain, those are minor curses, but in the US it is frowned upon by folks raised in the thin-lipped Pilgrim tradition.
It is a simple choice. Do you want to be clever or boring? Expand your vocabulary by studying Shakespeare and writers of his time on your own; until colleges and universities see the light and offer Creative Cursing classes.
Elizabeth is a freelance writer and author. Her novels “The Dionysus Connection” and “The Marathon Man” are available on amazon.com. Visit her website: www.elizabethcowan.com.