Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Dialogue with a Girl Who Pours Over the Dictionary

I am sandwiched between two boys who say curse words in Spanish.

(These are white, Caucasian boys, mind you.)
He was getting people to say a swear word in Spanish.  He told Gracie, “say ca twice,” and she did but she didn’t know what it meant.  Then Mr. Martinez came in to talk to us about it and he was very upset. You could tell his feelings were hurt.
After school, Rodney said the bad word was the same as the S-word.
Do you know what the S-word is?
No.   I only know two swear words. The A-word and the B-word.
What is the B-word?? Oh--was it in that book you read?
Yeah.  And it ended in –ing.
The bad word is the word without the –ing. It's a really bad name for someone.  Okay, [deep breath]  so you know that words are just words, right?  I’m going to say the S-word so you know what it is when people say it. And why people use it.
Why don’t you want me to say it?
Because I will be tempted to use it!  And part of what makes me unique is that I don’t know swear words!

So…I know there’s an A- and a B- and an F- word. I know the F-word is the same as sticking up your middle finger, so I’m always careful about sticking up my finger.  Mom, is there a swear word for every letter of the alphabet? Is there a C-word?  And a D-word?

Well, not exactly for every letter, but I’m sure there are a lot of them.

How do people even decide to make up swear words?

Well, I don’t know, there’s probably a book out there that tells about the etymology of curse words.  Etymology is the study of the words, their history.  Would you like a book about etymologies for Christmas?

[Aghast] No!

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