Okay, I’m going to lay off Senator McCain for a bit. But his Mr. Furious impression in that Senate committee meeting the other day got me thinking.
It served as an interesting contrast to the minor surge of blogospheric joviality that ensued when Mitt Romney was heard using the term “golly” as a substitute for something more, shall we say, course. NRO’s “The Corner” spent a good part of two days having fun with Romney’s golly-izing. See here, here, here, here , here and here.
I swore off of swearing in sixth or seventh grade. Back when me and my friends were all on the heady cusp of puberty, we had all started swearing like
sailorscommenters at the Huffington Post to show how grown up we were becoming.
Then I took a hard look at the adults in my life.
I looked at the lives of the men I knew who used foul language indiscriminately and automatically and compared them to the lives of the men in my world who I had never heard utter an off-color word. I liked what I saw in the lives of the latter group much better. Furthermore, I had an embryonic faith in God and with it, a growing sense that I cared what God thought about my life and my actions.
Thus, at the tender age of 12, I washed out my own mouth with figurative soap and embarked on a lifetime of faux swearing. (Yes, let the mockery and derision from the f-bomb dropping hordes that inhabit the shadows of the comment threads at the Democratic Underground commence. I wear your scorn like a freaking badge of honor.)
Nevertheless, there is something about the human brain’s wiring for language that seems to demand a way to express strong emotion. It is simply not possible to not say anything when you drop a shot put on your pinky toe. So, with all that in view, I now offer you my list of favorite substitute cuss phrases. Some are my creation, others I have adopted from others (I’ll try to give credit where credit is due.):
DAH!’s Little Golden Book of Swear Substitutes
- Shiite Moslems!—Mine. Millions use the name “Jesus Christ” as a swear. I have zero reluctance to use the name of a heretical sect of Islam.
- Shiitake Mushrooms!—Mine. Funghi don’t mind having their names taken in vain.
- Sweet Mother of Cheese!—From my business partner’s son.
- Sweet Smoking Judas!—Thank you James Lileks. Google the term and you will get three hits. One of them is me.
- Consarn it! ; var. the consarned thing—Don’t know where I picked this up but it sounds very geezer-y.
- Well, I’ll swan.—Grandma Holland, expressing amazement. I never understood what “swanning” looked like. But I’m pretty sure that girls of her generation needed a good working substitute for “swear.”
- Holy crap!—Strongbad’s catch-phrase. Stolen by the late Peter Boyle’s character on Everybody Loves Raymond.
- Awwww, dang!—Aha! Two Mystery Men references worked into a single post. Flippin’ sweet!
- Flippin’—See also: “I don’t give a flip,” of the flying or non-flying variety.
- That really chomps—Graciously shared by my friend Christopher Selby as a substitute for “bites” which, in turn, is a varient of “sucks.”
So how about you no-commenting so-and-so’s who frequent this blog? Any favorite faux swears of your own?