skip to Main Content

The Far Reaching Implications of the “F” Word

The “F word”. f-word-logoRecently I heard someone declare the “F” word to be the most versatile word in the English language. Insert it anywhere!  I am so “F-ing” sick of those “F-ing” refs!   What the “F” ?!! “F” this!   “F” that! What an “F-er”!  Oh “F”! That’s “F-ing” sick!! I saved the “F-ing” turtle! (I actually heard a kid belt that one out after he helped a turtle cross the road). You get my drift.  My opinion of the “F” word?  It’s a coarse word that anyone with intelligence or class should avoid.  Yet we all use it, myself included,at my weakest moments.  And it worries me….

There is a language disorder known as global aphasia. Global aphasia is characterized by the complete loss of the ability to comprehend spoken or written language. Verbal expression is limited to words or short automatic phrases such as explicatives. Meaning can sometimes appear to be present because of the emotional content of the explicatives.  Global aphasia can occur as a result of a head injury, stroke, or dementia, the most common example being Alzheimer’s disease. In my years as a speech therapist, I have treated dozens of people with global aphasia and observed many more who were resistant to treatment. I had one patient who could only say the number “one”.  I treated a priest who could only say “G-Damn it!”  So I know this condition occurs frequently! And it worries me…

One may ask, why do automatic phrases such as “1,2,3” and expletives survive when all other language is wiped out? The answer is frequency of use and emotional charge. Therefore, sequences we have rehearsed since we were very young such as counting or words we have said in an emotional situation, like “damn it”  are likely to persist even when every other word is gone. So what are the far reaching implications of the “F” word?  We are likely to hear it a lot.  It is both used frequently and in emotionally charged situations. It’s a double whammy.  It’s gonna be “F-ing” nasty!

What might this look like 40 years from now?  Imagine this scene: “Hi Grandma!”, my great-grandchildren will say to me as I shuffle along with my walker. “F**k!” , I will reply. “Let’s go have lunch!” , they will suggest.  “F**k, f**k, f**k”, I will say in agreement.  I will pass others in the hallway giving a cheerful “F” word greeting!  What madness!!!  And it worries me…

So what do I plan to do about it? I plan to reprogram myself. I figure there is still time to find an emotionally charged substitute that I can endlessly repeat so I am nobody’s “F”-ing granny. Maybe I will use the word lovely (there are ways to say lovely when you don’t mean lovely). Or dagnabbit.  Blast it!  I’d even settle for damn.  Just please not the “F” word.  I want to be known as an educated,somewhat refined lady until I go to the great library in the sky!!!  Really is that too much to ask of myself?

The far reaching implications of the “F” word are many. Perhaps by the time I am on the decline, the “F” word won’t mean anything. It will be as ordinary as the word “um.”  That would be lovely, but dagnabbit-damn, blast it!  I am not going to take that chance!  Anyone want to lend me a swear cup?

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Oh Ann,
    I can’t wait till you are hobbling around in your walker, screeching the f*bomb in delight. 🙂

    As I told you earlier…I shared this with the theater people of Hill-Murray (the legit ones anyway…) and they agreed compleatly. But what do we do? I know I use the F er quite a bit. SOMEBODY STOP ME

    Happy Valentines Day!

  2. I think maybe you should try using a word that doesn’t in any way imply negativity. For instance: “Oh Jellybeans!” Or “Tarter sauce! I forgot my wallet!”, or how about “Sunshine and hugs! Where did I put my glasses?!?” No one can resist a little old lady shuffling around with her walker, screaming exclamations of joy and sweetness! 🙂

  3. I love this bitty.
    I do believe that we all will be flinging this word around with ease in years to come.
    But won’t it just sound great coming from little old ladies with their walkers talking about how effing great the movie was.
    What in the eff, right? 🙂

  4. My personal favorite substitute is “cheese and whiskers.” I learned it when I was five from the “bananas in pajamas” show on PBS and it has stuck with me ever since. It has a less satisfying punch than the F* bomb but it rolls off the tongue quite nicely and may even make you laugh at yourself in your moment of frustration. 🙂

Leave a Reply

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

Back To Top