The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Profanity makes its way into daily speech

    “Frankly my dear I don’t give a d%#@!” When Rhett Butler uttered this to Scarlet on the big screen, an enormous precedent became null and void. Suddenly it was OK for people to swear openly, and the world hasn’t been the same since. Now the same D-word that Rhett said is allowed in children’s movies. Adult movies now employ the very vilest of the swear words, but even these are becoming mainstream.
    I grew up in a household seldom was heard a discouraging word. The only exception to the rule was my paternal grandfather, who had been through World War II and I am certain knew all manner of colorful language. He would take me fishing and occasionally would lose his temper and let loose a stream of very elaborate substitute words (since he wasn’t about to swear for real in front of a child who he knew would go home and tell on him). A very large fish would break off his line mere feet from shore, and I would watch in expectation as his face reddened and his eyes bulged. Finally the pressure overcame him and he would let one fly. “Great jumpin’ gosh darn almighty dog bite a rabbit,” he would say while his small grandson clapped his hands in delight and shouted, “Say it again Pap, say it again!”
    My own first experience with swearing came at the tender age of 6. I grew up going to church every Sunday and naturally figured that anything the pastor said would be just fine for me to use on my own. I recall that he used a certain H-word in his sermons. You know, the hot place where bad people go. I resolved to try it out at the first opportunity. The very next day, I was riding in the car with my mother when she spotted a small herd of deer on one side of the road.
    “Ben, look at the deer!” she exclaimed. “What the h@#&,” I said, very pleased at the chance to use my new word.
    My mother took it very well, I thought, but to this day, I can’t even think of a swear word without feeling my backside tingle or tasting Ivory soap in my mouth.
    I joined the Army when I was 20 years old, and before my arrival at boot camp, I thought I was pretty much a man of the world. I had after all, gone to public school. I was certain that I knew all there was to know about swearing, but I was proven wrong.
    Our first day in basic training, the drill sergeants did their best to cowl and intimidate us, and to their credit, they did an excellent job. One in particular began to address us all using every vile word you could imagine and some you can’t. He covered all aspects of swearing, calling us names, insulting both ourselves and our relatives for generations back and using all sorts of crude anatomical references. Most of the guys were rooted to the spot with fear, but I stood absolutely fascinated. I wondered at the fact that he managed to use one word as a noun, verb and adjective all in the same sentence. I left boot camp with a whole new store of words and phrases in my vocabulary.
    During the majority of my active duty time, I was known to swear only very seldom, if at all, and I never used any of the really bad words. The only time I ever let loose was during a bad incident with a wait-a-minute vine. If you’ve ever been in the woods, you know what these vines are. They’re the thick green ones with the big thorns on them. If you run into one in the dark, it’s very difficult to get free without injury, and you have to call to the man in front of you, “Hey, wait a minute!”-hence the name.
    On this particular outing, I managed not to run into one in the dark but to straddle it instead. Not realizing that I was even in contact with the vine, I surged ahead, and basically flossed my crotch with this thorny vine, which ripped my pants to shreds and didn’t stop there. This is when I let fly every word that I knew. I leaned against a tree and cursed the vine, the tree it hung from, my pants for not being sturdier and finally all flora in general. Rumors surfaced later that the words coming from my mouth were so vile that you could actually see them through night vision goggles.

    Leave a Comment
    Donate to The Reflector

    Your donation will support the student journalists of Mississippi State University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The Reflector

    Comments (0)

    All The Reflector Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Activate Search
    The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
    Profanity makes its way into daily speech