Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Giving Up Religious Profanity

One thing in life I enjoy just a little too much is swearing. No, my everyday conversations are not laced with profanities. What kind of example would that be to my daughter? But when my patience is seriously challenged, my sense of verbal decorum has been known to go right out the window.

I will confess, for a long time my favorite profanities were those of the religious type. This, no doubt, I owe to my religious, alcoholic, abusive father. (Sorry, Pop. You know I loved you anyway.) His favorite expression was "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!" The next time I am tempted to use that one, I think I'll change the names and see if that does it for me. "Josh, Marty, and Jake! What were you thinking?" Hmm. Not quite the same.

There's something psychologically soothing about invoking the name of God out of a sense of intense anger or total exasperation. It relieves inner tension like nothing else. One of the most popular religious profanities is, "Jesus Christ!" Interestingly, this is one expression I have been fairly successful at minimizing - thus, hopefully eliminating - from my sordid verbal repertoire.

The further away I get from a God-driven mindset, the more offensive I feel religious profanity is. I just don't think it's right to offend such sensibilities in people whether they are within ear shot of my outbursts or not. As for "God damn it" well, what's the point if you don't believe he exists? I want to be rid of God so completely in my life that I will try like hell not to even use his name when I swear.

Speaking of "hell." There's another swear word that can be said to have religious origins. Hell, after all, being that place where believers say God will send us heathens and infidels to spend eternity after we die. I am very fond of, "What the hell did you do that for?" and, "I sure hope you know what the hell you're doing." And let's not forget the tried-and-true, ever-popular, "Go to hell!" These are going to prove very difficult to give up.

I'm proud of myself for trying not to use religious profanities. I think it's the right thing to do and even shows a little maturity. There is one word, however, - not particularly religious in nature - that may prove the most difficult to give up in my quest to swear less frequently: the "F" word. The "F" word and its many variations still provide the greatest amount of release and satisfaction when I've lost all control. "God damn it!" is nice in a pinch, but "What the fuck are you talking about?" relieves my boiling psyche better than any "Jesus H. Christ!" or "God damn it!" ever could.

Just writing about profanities seems to calm that edge in my nerves, sort of like feeding an addiction. Maybe there's a twelve-step program just for pithy little foul mouths like me. If there is, I might be just who they're looking for.

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