I said frickin.
But I didn’t use that other f-word or the d-word or any other less than desirable word. I was doing my best to remain calm and to be respectful, but suddenly, the word blurted out.
Language is a powerful tool. I have always advised my children to steer clear of using swear words casually, because they could suddenly pop out of your mouth when you least expect them. But that day, my emotions impacted my language, and I spoke before I thought.
The person on the receiving end was offended and made it clear to me and to others that he considered my use of the word frickin to be crude and disrespectful.
Now, of course, this person was upset with me and was trying to paint me as a potty mouth. But here’s the thing……frick is a fake swear word.
To me, frickin” is like flippin”, or frackin”, and many people don’t always hear these as curse words. In fact, fricking is listed both in Webster’s and in the Oxford dictionary, and it just says that this word is “used for emphasis or to express anger, annoyance, contempt, or surprise.”
Although I don’t say these words regularly, fake swear words do fill a void when I need an expletive with weight. Fake curse words, like dang, darn, holy schmoley, and fishsticks, let me emote, but without sounding like a trucker.
In the hit NetFlix comedy, Kimmy Schmidt drops the f-word all of the time. But for her, the f-bomb is fudge. When Kimmy asks “What the fudge?” or says “Fudge it to heck,” we aren’t offended. We recognize the difference between curse words and, well…….fake curse words.
In TV and movies, we hear plenty of fake swearing. Robin Williams, as Mork, gave us Shazbot and Tommy Boy gave us Schnikes. And Yosemite Sam introduced us to rassafrassin and rackafrackin.
Orbit Gum took fake swearing to a new level and showed how Orbit can clean up a dirty mouth by introducing us to What the French Toast and Son of a Biscuit-Eating Bulldog.
So I was surprised when this individual expressed such indignation at my use of frickin’. It’s fake, for pete’s sake! Clearly, he was overreacting….right?
When we were little kids in Oak Valley, the nuns at the area convent were on the lookout for blasphemy and were alert for any child who might casually take our Lord’s name in vain. A kid on a bike who uttered “oh my God” would land in hot water, but so could any kid using a sound-alike interjection. Kids got called out for “oh my gosh” and “oh my goodness” and for “Jeez,” “Jeez-Louise,” and even “cheese and crackers.” The nuns cautioned that these words were just substitutes for things we weren’t supposed to say and that, in our heart, we were saying the real thing. The nuns would speculate about what was really in our hearts and they warned that we couldn’t hide that from God. We knew that we also couldn’t hide from those nuns, who worked to expose sin like it was their job, cause it was.
So were the nuns right? When we use a substitute word, are we really saying the real thing? In my heart, was I really cussing that individual out?
Well, if I am honest (and the nuns would want me to be honest), I am pretty sure that I wanted to follow that isolated frickin with a frickity, fricking, frickety frick frick! I was hurt and let one substitute curse word slip. But in my heart, I wanted to say something worse.
So Son of a Gun and Gobb Dash It! That individual was right to be indignant.
So moving forward, I will look into my own heart and will try to moderate my fake swears.
But then again, maybe I won’t.
Expletives and interjections help us to express frustration, anger, or pain. I would love to grow, as a person, to a place where I don’t ever have swear words in my heart. But sometimes I am wounded and my heart hurts. And while I cannot always control what is in my heart, I can try to control what comes out of my mouth.
So I cannot promise that I will never again let out a frick, frack, fudge, fiddlestick, or phooey, especially when I am upset or hurt.
And to the person who acted so high and mighty and appalled by my language, and who went out of his way to speak badly about me, I can ask just one thing: What the French Toast?
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