Four Letter Words are Funn
I’ll start this out with a disclaimer: This post has the word fuck in it. Quite a bit, actually. If you find that offensive, don’t read it, and shut up about it. If you don’t, you should read this, too. My favorite writer human, Mark Manson, wrote an entire post about The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, and it’s great. And then watch this. The image will make sense, and also, it’s hilarious. Because Chris D’Elia. If you’re impatient, fast-forward to 1:38. You’re welcome.
You may now continue, if you so choose. (Last chance to back out. Seriously. MMMKAY. But first… Click me quick! Just do it, I want to be dramatic.)
As an impressionable kid with a penchant for words, I loved learning new ways to describe the things I was thinking, feeling, seeing, and hearing. I was born head over heels for language, determined to master it as soon as possible. I had things to say, whether they were of value or not, and I was ready to command my universe.
Most kids have a knack for picking up on things they aren’t supposed to, especially when they’re learning how to speak. I wasn’t overly unique in this respect. Children hear things — forbidden things that have been sheltered and hidden out of fear of corruption — and they latch on because the ellicitness of it all makes it so thrilling. I loved to kick words around in my mouth until it seemed like the right time to spit them out, carefully assessing each reaction. A charged response filled me up the way helium lifts an empty balloon.
One day, a boy at the babysitter thought it’d be fun to teach the small girl with the big mouth (hey — that’s me!) one tiny four letter word. That word sounded a lot like fuck… because it was. And from that moment on, any possibility for an elegant, lady-like vocabularly was toast.
The story goes like this:
Allegedly, I chose to wait until the right moment to share this new found favorite with my parents. My grandparents were visiting from Washington, and it was bedtime, but Miss Bossy Boots was not ready to sleep. In the overtired, well-known fashion of small children, I began to throw a tantrum.
As my dad carried me up the stairs, I decided it was time to share. We hadn’t gotten far up the steps before I began to yell, “FUCK!” at the top of my little lungs, all whilst slung over my dad’s shoulder like a small, flailing sack of flour.
While I don’t remember what happened next, it has been said that Grandpa and Grandma were in stitches — laughing to tears. My mother was mortified. Not wanting to encourage me by laughing, my dad chewed his cheek hard enough to draw blood. The hope was extinction by non-reaction. And in the short-term, it worked.
I safely stored my new friend “fuck” in my language toolbox, for safe-keeping until about middle school.
Fuck is such a fun word to say.
Tell me you don’t get a kick out of reading a line like that. Tell me that when you’re really hurting, saying fuck doesn’t make it feel better. Tell me when you’re angry, it doesn’t feel like some odd sort of divine justice to overuse the word fuck, even if it makes you sound like your only argument is the word “fuck.” (Hey, sometimes it is. Life, and stuff.) Tell me that when you stub your toe on the corner of your stupid couch, yelling, “AH FUCK!” doesn’t make the pain seem a little more bearable.
That’s because it does. There are studies (ew — stats and studies and academic papers) that have suggested (because studies and theories and too many variables to be certain) that cursing alleviates emotional and physical pain (You can Google those if you want — I’m not attaching a billion different article links.) Granted, it’s temporary, but I use that as an excuse any time I overuse the four letter beaut. (Let me just say: I try not to overuse it. I love it, but there’s a time and a place, as Dad would say. OH MY GOD, I’M QUOTING MY PARENTS TO PEOPLE. WHAT IS THIS?!)
I get that it’s an offensive word. It can be argued that the way you use language and the way it’s interpreted lends a lot to what’s offensive and what isn’t, and that we give words power, etc etc. There are endless debates for people who love to argue about that kind of stuff — I’m apathetic to arguing simply for the sake of doing so.
Instead, I’m going to talk about why I love the word fuck, for all of it’s glorious inappropriateness whilst the Internet debaters fight each other about the previous paragraph. (Cue Harry Potter quote in my best British accent: “Wands at the ready!”)
Where was I… oh, right. Fuck!
I love the way it lands when you say it. I love the way it feels in your mouth before you drop it into conversation. I love the endless ways in which you can use it: filler, emotional expression, elaboration, positive/negative, incredulous, dismayed, disappointed… the list goes on. It’s so freakin’ versatile it makes my head spin. (Yes, I purposely chose freakin’, because while fuck is versatile, it doesn’t always fit — that’s a weird writer’s thing for me.) I love how punchy it is — fuck. Gets right down to it, doesn’t it? It’s a no bullshit kind of word. I like that. I like how it still makes me giddy to say it, and how sometimes it still makes me giggle afterward.
What can I say? My sense of humor is fucking immature.
(If you’re still reading this… Sorry for all the fucks, Mom.)