Fans of my writing, and I think there are seven of you now, may have noticed that I tend to… avoid the harsher language. Okay, fine, I have the vocabulary of a Disney character. Generally speaking this is not an impediment, but recent constructive criticisms have shed some light on short comings that this has produced in the finished product. Reluctantly, I have been coerced into reconfiguring my linguistic policies, abandoning circumlocution in favor of a moderately more abrasive, direct, and assertive tone. In other words, parental guidance suggested.
We’ll start by saying that this isn’t a major change. We aren’t talking the seven dirty words, here. (That’s two references to Carlin’s list in, what, a week? Neat!) Just a few choice words here and there, words out of place in the Saturday morning cartoons, but not on your average sitcom. Words like ass. I’ve built up quite a repertoire of words to skirt that particular piece of the anatomy. Heinie, hind-er, keister, tushie, tush, fleshy-bit, sit-upon, back-of-my-front, rear end, anus, sphincter, rectum, bottom, rump, gluteus maximus, buttock, buttocks, the list goes on. My primary standby, though, has been butt. It is short, succinct, but rhetorically inferior to ass. For one thing, it is a full stop. Those Ts hit hard. The flow of the sentence is ruined, which is why butt should always come at the end. (Just like in real life.) Ass, on the other hand… well, nothing flows like ass. (Ew.) There’s also the fact that butt just sounds juvenile. A third grader says that. “I’m gonna kick your butt, Kyle!” A Mexican gangster would say, “I’m gonna kick your ass, Paco.” See? Much more authoritative. Never let it said I passed up a chance to emulate a Mexican gangster.
Another word you might see making the rounds, and the only one to make the cut from that aforementioned Carlin list, is piss. Again, the synonyms are abundant. Pee, peepee, tinkle, wee, weewee, sissy, make water, urine, urinate, drain the lizard, take a leak, whizz, take a whizz. When you are trying to avoid being a potty mouth, you learn a lot of ways to describe going to the potty. Piss, though, hits hard. It has that nice sharp ending that ads a note of aggression. Plus it pulls double duty, because now I can say pissed off. Before I had to say POed, which frankly doesn’t make sense. You add the -ed at the end? That makes it Piss Offed. It is bad enough ending a sentence with a preposition, let alone the mythical past tense preposition. I hate when people verbify words.
Next up on the list is hell, or Hell, if you’re religious. This one has a few replacements, but I’ve always gone with heck. Call me old fashioned, I guess. Aside from solving my previously described flow problems by replacing a hard K with a couple of smooth Ls, and upgrading the tone of the sentence from middle school to high school, it is just a more flexible word. Heck can be an interjection/exclamation, “Heck, I don’t know where I put the monkey repellent!” Or part of a phrase, “What the heck is going on!” But it just doesn’t work as a destination, “Go to heck!” Nope, in that case it is really hell or nothing.
That covers the primary changes. Maybe a few others will make it into the rotation. Damn, bastard, things of that nature. Don’t expect to see these flavorful little nuggets of profanity very often. Think of them like blue cheese. It is an acquired taste, and it can be pungent if you get a whole mouthful of it, but in moderation it adds a certain adult flavor that makes the whole dish tastier. I also won’t really be adding this to my conversational language. I honestly couldn’t care less about what people think my speech. I might even change my mind about it in my writing. Old habits die hard, after all, but I’ll give it a try. I’m doing it for my adoring public. I hope you’re goddamn happy.