*WARNING: Bad language. Sensitive readers may be offended (who am I kidding?)
I share an office with a potty-mouth, I call her Joy-To-The-World for unrelated reasons. Let me just make one thing clear though first – she and I get on like a house on fire, I complete her sentences (sans curse words), we get each other’s sense of humour, we have each other’s backs in most situations. But she swears (a lot) and I don’t (at all). We have tried implementing a swear jar, but it doesn’t work. I keep telling her that I am going to be very angry if I pick up this bad habit. I am convinced that one day, in a most inopportune moment, it is all going to come tumbling out in one long filthy sentence. I am terrified I may stub my toe somewhere, like in a church, and give everyone an earful of profanities that will have me booked for the next Jerry Springer episode.
Another colleague, we call him Mr Awesome (and so does he), finds the combination of the two of us in one office hilarious. On one occasion he informed me that on his orders I need to try and use the word ‘knob-knocker’ at least once a day in reference to someone. Later that week, in a pass the message conversation over sms between the three of us, he passed a message via Joy-To-The-World to me, to which I replied “I will do so, Knob-Knocker” thinking he would be proud of me. However, his reply was “Not bad for a rug muncher.” I understood immediately that any words he gave me to use were not intended to be used on him. Lesson 1 complete.
I decided I would compromise. I discovered the word ‘feck’. I looked up the Irish origins and ‘feck’ is used the same way as ‘throw’ in some instances. I thought this was a nice cheat going by its similarity to the other word that frequented our office space, and no one would know the difference. The next time he phoned Joy-To-The-World and passed a message on to me, I told her to tell him I would ‘feck’ the required document on his desk. His immediate response was that Irish words did not count as swearing. I didn’t bank on him knowing the origin of the word. Lesson 2: never underestimate the vocabulary of a cusser – they already use more words per sentence than the rest of us.
We also work in a high-annoyance zone at times and we often vent our frustrations. On hearing my “Oh my shattered nerves!” Joy-To-The-World will warn everyone – “Didi is REALLY angry now!” That is seriously the range of my venting, much to the amusement of everyone else.
The ‘Swear Tutor’ mentioned above sat through one of these discussions about the swearing vs non swearing in our office. He told me he actually doesn’t really ever want to hear me swear, it would be like hearing the Virgin Mary casually discussing prostitution. (He is however convinced I was a pot-smoking hippie in my younger days!?).
So, I continue to colour over any additional words I feel my sentences require and feed my inner parrot on plenty of candy to sugar coat any that may slip out unintentionally.
P.S. I wrote the above a few days ago… but today it happened….
Joy-To-The-World asked me to look at something on her laptop, so I slid on my chair over to her, not realising my laptop cable was wrapped around the arm of my chair. I pulled my laptop off the desk, knocking over my mug of tea, narrowly missing all the documents on my desk. “Oh sherbert! Oh sherbert! Oh sherbert!” was my exact phrase while grabbing the falling laptop and tea (which I saved, by the way). There was silence, as everyone looked at me – Mr Awesome was there too along with one other colleague, and I quote him:
“There is no hope for you… you had the perfect opportunity to use every swear word we have taught you, and you f$!*%d it up! Sherbert? That’s the word you pick?”
And so we have all come to the conclusion that if it hasn’t happened by now, it’s never going to.