I was the oldest of four siblings. We weren't allowed to say any naughty words like "Heck or Darn". In fact, we couldn't even say "butt". The buttock area was referred to as the "seater". I found this to be very confusing because our mother had a cedar chest.
Since we were average kids, however, the prohibition on cussing didn't stop us from calling each other names. We got away with Stinkpot, Snot, Dumb-bell, Dope and Big Baby.
Going to the bathroom (or outhouse) was either Number 1 or Number 2. Words like "pee" and body (as in naked) were very edgy language in our young minds. Incredibly, there was a character on the Fibber Magee and Molly radio show named Mr. Peabody. We happily incorporated this name into our lexicon of alternative cussing. As a result, our escalating cuss-progression became: Dummy, Dumb-Dope, and finally, Dumb-Dope-Peabody! This was the worst possible thing we could call a sibling.
The beauty of it was that even if the offended sibling tattled, Mom was oblivious of the foul-mouthed implications of "Peabody" so we got away with it for years.
Mom, being of Norwegian descent, would often say Ufta (whoops) or Ishta (gross). She was also fond of using "ofers"; you know: "Oh fer dumb!" or "Oh fer cute!". Her favorite expressions when she was really exasperated were, "Oh for Pete's sake!" or "Hon-est-ly!". Dad would poke fun at Mom by doodling goofy pictures of men with prominent adam's apples and titling them Pete or Honest Lee.
My dad's cussing consisted of. "Blame it!" or "Son of a gun!" or "Bunch'a hooey" or "Holy smut!" This was really tame stuff by today's standards. I guess society as a whole keeps functioning as we did as kids--always pushing the envelope for ever-worse ways of trash talking.
Where will it all end!?
This Blinding Absence of Light by Tahar Ben Jelloun
23 minutes ago