Summer is here, officially arriving in Westman at 5:51 a.m. So let’s get out and enjoy the longest day of the year.
With just four school days left, and grads this week, it won’t be long before families will be out camping, boating, road-tripping and taking in the sights and sounds of the best season of the year.
Summer vacations take money, and if you haven’t been saving your change through the spring, a big trip can often cost big bucks. Such was the case with my friend Bruce in Regina.
He actually had two problems. One was the lack of funds for a summer trip the family planned, and the other was the increasing amount of profanity floating around the house.
You see, like many of us, Bruce has a young family, and it’s an active family. They spend their days falling off bikes, trying to get computers to work properly, and doing home improvements that can often mean a trip to the hospital.
And even if it isn’t a trip the hospital, a hammer to the thumb often means screaming — and swearing. Most times it’s both.
But since Bruce had low funds and foul mouths, and kids who were creative in putting together the rules for making money from all the nastiness, the family swear jar was born. Naturally his nine-year old came up with a list of offensive words and how much the fine is for using them.
The picture I have with this week’s column is the actual list he came up with — edited, of course. Dad said he was pretty shocked by all the "bad words" he knew. He also made the mistake of reading the list out loud and now owes $22.50.
According to a study, children are swearing more and are starting to do so at a younger age. Timothy Jay, a psychology professor at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts who has been studying swearing for 30 years, found that the average child now starts saying bad words between the ages of three and four — earlier than kids did a few decades ago.
A person’s peak period of swearing is during his or her teenage years, but Jay’s new data suggests tweens could soon become society’s most prolific cursers. The professor doesn’t blame TV and movies, but rather peer influence, and the adults they associate with.
Experts in the use of the English language in North America claim we curse about once every 140 words, making foul language as popular as first person plural pronouns like "our," "us" and "we."
According to a recent poll, one-third of all men say the F-word at least a few times a week. And women? Twenty-three per cent of them lob F-bombs.
The study also found that, among those who swear and those who don’t, there is agreement that no one likes it when people swear for no good reason. There’s gotta be a way to change this without dropping my car payment into a swear jar each week!
So what can we say instead? You’ll be happy to know not everyone in Westman lives up to the stats I’ve listed. Many have some pretty darn good substitutions that you’re welcome to try. I know I have.
Gillian Perlette — Shiitake mushrooms! Son of a wedge wheel! Been there, done that. Didn’t make sense but...
Neil Dreilich — Oh, crackers
Nancy Maguire Horn — Son of a biscuit
Cassie Killen — Skittles!
Brianna Flatskii — Holy cheese and crackers!
Krystin Sumner — For five six!
Sherry Louise — Holy frack!
Trisha Birch — Son of a gun
Joey Tozer — Falcon Beach (an actual vacation zone on the Ontario-Manitoba border)
Kelly-Ann Kerr — Oh, for frog sakes
Marcie Shingoose — For flocksakes
Jacky Chann — Pumpernickle. Even my son says it. It’s a word we use instead of stupid and words like that. Because those are not nice words to use according to him.
Jolene Shlachetka — Holay crackers
Jill Wells Frederickson — Sugar plum fairy
Jill Wildeman — Frick nugget
Jacquie Schmidt — Hokey Dina
Leslie Armstrong — Fire truck
Jenni-Lyn Poe — Mine sounds more like adhhdfvctrhnhtddvbuffbb ... no real words just a bunch of garble!
Heather Neumann — Sun of a bunny
Evelene Shingoose — Oh, heaven’s sakes!
Cheryl Kunzelman — Sheep dip!
Krystal Kayne — During the Christmas season, it is ‘jumping jingle bells’!
Derrick Downey — Mother father!
Stephanie Parks — Mother ducks!
SherryLynn Ricard — Mother trucker ... or I internalize it and take a walk.
Monica Enns Parks — Son of a biscuit baker.
Lance Stewart-Melnick — Son of a beeswax
Max Bone — Sun of a bee sting
Laurisa F Delorme — For farquads sake! Doesn’t make sense but it seems to come out every time.
Kennedy DeBeer — "AAAAAfrica!" ~ courtesy of the father, John DeBeer
Susanne Fayant — Holy mother trucker. Or son of a monkey’s uncle.
Linnea Marohn — Mother of pearl! And cheese ’n’ rice.
Laura Preisentanz — Peanut butter.
Chris Francis — Shut the front door!
Well, at least there are a few options to filling the swear jar. The bottom line is this: When a hammer misses the mark and hits your thumb, "Ouch!"just doesn’t cut it. It’s nice to know we have some alternatives to those words that "make a sailor blush."
After all, if you’re taking your family to Disneyland after putting the swear jar out for a couple of months, you’ve got some bigger problems.
JOKE THIS WEEK
A six-year-old and four-year-old are upstairs in their bedroom.
"You know what?" says the six-year-old. "I think it’s about time we started cussing."
The four-year-old nods his head in approval, and they head down stairs.
When their mother walks into the kitchen and asks the six-year-old what he wants for breakfast, he replies, "Aw hell, Mom. I guess I’ll have some Cheerios."
Mom slaps him — whack!
The older boy flies out of his chair, tumbles across the kitchen floor, gets up, and runs upstairs crying his eyes out with his mother in hot pursuit, slapping his rear with every step. She locks him in his room and shouts, "You can stay in there until I let you out!"
She then comes back downstairs, looks at the four-year-old and asks with a stern voice, "And what do you want for breakfast, young man?"
"I don’t know," he blubbers. "But you can bet your ass it won’t be Cheerios!"
Melanie Maxwell Heinrichs
Melanie Berg Boganes
Jason Clark Kaye
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 21, 2014