Friday, September 4, 2009

Harkening back to my childhood (again)

Today's Pickles comic struck a note with me. As kids, my three siblings and I weren't allowed to say 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 quite confusing because Mom had a cedar chest).

Since we were average kids, however, the prohibition on cussing didn't stop us from talking trash to each other. We got away with Stinkpot, Snot, Dumbbell, Dope and Big Baby.

In those days, going to the bathroom was either Number 1 or Number 2. The word Pee--as in urinate--and the word Body--as in naked--were very edgy language in our young minds. Incredibly, there was a character on the Fibber McGee and Molly radio show named Mr. Peabody! We happily incorporated this into our lexicon of alternative cussing. As a result, our escalating cuss-progression became:
  1. Dummy!

This was the worst possible thing we could call a sibling. The offended child might well respond with, "I'm gonna tell Mom!" Fortunately, Mom was oblivious to the foul-mouthed implications of Peabody, so we still got away with it.

My parents' "expletives" were equally mild. Mom, being of Norwegian descent, would often say Ufta (oops) or Ishta (gross). She was also fond of using Ofers, as in: "Oh for dumb" or "Oh for cute!" Her favorite expressions were, "Oh, for Pete's sake!" and "Hon-est-ly!"

Dad would poke fun at Mom by doodling pictures of goofy-looking guys and labeling them Pete or Honest Lee. Dad's cussing consisted of, "Holy Smut!", "Son of a Gun", "Blame it!" or "Bunch of Hooey."

It seems rather sad that we have become much coarser people over the decades. And, it makes you wonder--where the heck will it all end?!!


Olde Dame Penniwig said...

I knew an older Norwegian gentleman who was evidently from the cussier-part of Norway...the very LEAST he would do was "send" someone or something "to the devil."

I think it's sad to hear the kingergartners saying the f-word and talking very smutty nowadays -- pretty shocking when I taught. When I pulled into the parking lot the first day of school a few years back, several kinders shot me the bird and one spat. Appalling! And then I met the quote my Norwegian friend, "To the devil with bad parents!"

Ms Sparrow said...

I discovered that today's post is almost identical to one I did some time ago. I apologize for that.