My son’s daycare teacher reported that she overheard the boy using the F-word in the playground the other day. Needless to say, I decided to have a little talk with him later that evening.
"Did you say a bad word in school today?"
"Well, the teacher told me you did. She told me you said a word that begins with F."
He looked confused. "No, I used another word. I told a friend that he was an idiot, and you said that ‘idiot’ is not a nice word." Technically, the boy was correct. We’ve tried to teach our kids not to call others by bad names, even if the word isn’t technically bad.
I smiled as I watched his disappointment in saying the word "idiot." "Well then, make sure you try not to call anyone an idiot again."
"Okay, I promise not to call anyone a fucking idiot again."
Okay, so this is where I needed to be sent to the emergency room for biting my tongue so hard, stifling the laughter. As it seems, my son never knew that the F-word is bad because he merely had overheard someone else say it. Sure, he could have heard is from me, but later discussion revealed it was another classmate. To my son, the F-word simply was not bad because he didn’t know it to be bad. "Idiot," however was a bad word.
This got me to thinking about bad words in general. The fact that someone is called an idiot is not perceived as a taboo statement in society today. However, add a supposed obscene adjective, and the statement is offensive. Why is the adjective offensive versus the derogatory noun? And what about an adjective that means the exact same thing. Let’s say "freaking" instead of "fucking." Is calling someone a "freaking idiot" any less offensive than being called a "fucking idiot?" Apparently so, because you hear the word "freaking" all the time on television. (Or "friggin’," "fricking," "flipping," or some other derivative).
Why is it that any kid can talk about poop or feeling like crap, but is considered a delinquent if that kid mentions the word "shit?" Is "shit" so much different than "crap?" It means the same thing…so why is one acceptable over another?
I’m not proposing a change to our language, nor am I supportive of my kids, or any others, speaking with a foul mouth. I just think it’s funny that it’s not the meaning of such words that are offensive, but just the words themselves. Wouldn’t you think the intent of such words, no matter the level of obscenity, would be the true measure of offensiveness?
Thinking about it just makes me laugh my ass off. Oops, I can’t say "ass", can I? However I can write the acronym of LMAO. Oh heck, now I’m really friggin’ confused.