Profanity. It’s still getting me in trouble.
When I was growing up, way back in the 60’s and 70’s it was not considered appropriate to swear, cuss, curse, or however you want to say it. My parents did not swear and were of the opinion we shouldn’t either. If we forgot, we were quickly reminded by a tasty little procedure many from my generation remember as getting your mouth washed out with soap. I’m sure kids today would think that’s barbaric, and somewhat ridiculous, but it was pretty normal back then. For those of you who’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing this, I can tell you, it was surely a deterrent for swearing. The range of soaps I was lucky enough to sample were never tasty, usually burned your mouth a little and quickly cured me from wanting to cuss. At least within Mom’s earshot.
I’m picturing this now, all the neighbor ladies gathered around coffee exchanging the best soap they’d found for this punishment. “Marge, have you tried the Lava, yet? It really works. Only took once for Billy!”
“I’ve been using Dove, but maybe that’s too mild.” “For sure! You can’t use Dove or Ivory, they really don’t work all that well. Dial’s pretty good also, if you can’t find Lava.”
Now I did try this with my sons, and for two of them it did seem to help. I had one however, that turned around and smugly said, “That tasted good, can I have some more?” Yeah, there’s always that one. The same child also told me after I’d broken the wooden spoon over his bottom, “That didn’t hurt!” While he has a very high IQ, he didn’t have the best judgement or common sense.
I tried to model the behavior I expected from my own children, since I expected them to not curse, I didn’t either. My husband came from a family that didn’t have the same views on profanity and it took a while to break him of it too. Dang! That Lava sure worked well.
After the children moved out and we were empty nesters, we both grew very lax with our language and I found myself swearing way too often and for no good reason. My everyday speech became peppered with profanity. I have been trying to clean up my mouth for quite some time and have made great strides although I do occasionally slip. During this time, something very amusing happened. We had some guests in our home who liked to treat our computer as their own and frequently would download things, or change settings and we didn’t appreciate this. So one day after this happened, I went to set a password for logging on to the computer. I asked my husband what I should use as a password and he suggested “a**hole” as he was still upset about the last time these particular guests had messed with the computer. So I typed that in.
Not long after that, we were having trouble with the computer and I contacted a friend’s husband to fix it. He needed to know the password and I shamefacedly told him.
After the computer was repaired, we continued to use various passwords and sometimes would cycle through the same ones so once again one day, I found myself typing in a**hole as the password. And once again, I had to take it back to the same repairman for a fix. And once again, I had to tell him what I’d selected as my password.
Totally embarrassed. I vowed to never use that password again.
Public humiliation. More effective than soap.