Tuesday, 29 March 2011
Swearing. And more swearing.
I have been quiet, because i've been test driving new medication. More of that another day. For now, a big sweary rant. I'm not big on swearing. Whilst I went through my 2 sweary phases (once at 4, when my mother uttered the incredibly stupid phrase "When you hear me swear, then you can swear", which led to nigh on a week of stalking and then a whole 24 hours of happy blue air and a very cross mum, and phase 2 was my "bad girl" teen year(s), which basically amounted to saying "bloody" a lot and listening to the Smiths), I don't really swear now, unless I stub a toe and the kids are not around. When they are around, which is always, I generally resort to "cornflakes" which has some pleasing consonants, or "Ruddy Ugger". I do slip up though. Son is my Dog Poo radar on the way to playgroup, scooting ahead of the buggy and shouting "Bloody Dog Poo!", pointing. But mostly, we are a swear free zone, although Husband is not as sweet as me, and often gets a kick. As a teacher, I hated hearing students swear, and they did, a lot. Often 5 words out of every 10, and with increasing severity, with a word like "Innit" or "bare" at the end. I was hazy on what the C-word was until i'd read Tery Southern at university (eagerly) and leaving aside its' Chaucerian pedigree, I find it a pretty worrying word to be out of a 14 year olds mouth. As a vile form tutor, if I ever caught one of my flock turning the air blue, I would high them to my classroom and there force them to turn the pages of my ancient and large dictionary, until they concocted a juicy phrase that was sans swearing, and rather more intelligent sounding. My pet with swearing was not, and is not, the word per se, but the hugely lazy attitude of saying the same thing again and again for effect. Your brains, I would lecture, are humungous. Why use the same pathetic words everyone else does? Why eff and blind when you can patronise and insult? It was a badge of pride when I heard a year 8 of my form call his neighbour a cretinous globule. Now, of course, I tell my children not to swear. This was not a problem, because they did not know what swearing was, only that some words were new to them. This was until son came home from playgroup proudly declaiming that (nameless child) says "fuck" a lot, and that is very, very naughty. Of course, he had figured out that by saying the word in parentheses, as it were, and always being careful to mention (nameless childs) name, he was blameless. I let it ride, but pointed out that (nameless child) was very naughty, and made mental note never, ever to invite him round. All this was well and good. Until last week. When, pushing the buggy loaded with scooters, bags, books, Baby Annabel, various motorbike models in (the kids don't use, it no, but I still need it to push round the retinue of crap they trail round with), we met that most charming of floods, the going-home-from-secondary school flood. And, of course, the aural flowering of Effs and Blinds, and C's. Sons ears pricked: "That boy is NAUGHTY, mummy! He said...." Yelp from me. Child/youth in question hears this, and proceeds to Eff and Blind more vigourously, to the joy of his friends. I size him up. Year 9, at most, bit fat, trying for a laugh from his mates, wears glasses. I put best teacher voice on and politely ask him to stop swearing in front of my children. He does not, bouyed up by it all. I ask him again to stop. He does not. By now, they are all at it. My children are actually getting scared. I take out my phone, take their picture, and while they are all expressing anger at this terrible infringement of their rights, I point out that I know where one of them lives, his mum has always been perfectly pleasant to me, she will doubtless identify the rest of them, and be burned by shame at the idiocy of her offspring. Furthermore, the area we are traversing through is a sheltered housing area, full of elderly people who do not want to be frightened by a bunch of hormonal teenagers whose one brain cell has not caught up with their mouths. One of the kids says "Leave her alone". There are murmured "sorry" noises. They scuttle off. Today, they walked by the house, as the kids were playing in the front garden. Son was shock still, waiting to see if they would be naughty. They all said hello, quietly, and one of them said "I like your scooter" to him. All it took was a word. And not a rude one.