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cleaning a dirty mouth
quitting cursing cold turkey
by jeffrey d. walker

This article is about foul language and is not appropriate for children.

For as long as I’ve been old enough to use curse words, I have. Living in New York City from 2002-2005 did little to curb this behavior. I also had one work situation that featured cursing on an often and loud basis. Overall, since my mid-twenties especially, I’ve had little need, desire, nor encouragement to curb my foul-mouthed behavior.

Fact: I have been known to shout offensive words in public places just to cause a rise, because I think it’s funny, and especially after a few drinks. Fact: Cursing earned me a awesome rear corner office at my law firm, because people in the waiting room could overhear my cursing from my original smaller office. True story. The word mentioned was fuck, by the way. Just think about that when you want your corner office.

And now, after thirty-six years, I am changing my behavior. Kind-of, sort of.

My boy, Linus, turns six months old on the eighteenth of this month. And this is the date that has become the end-date for my foul mouth behavior, based on compromise with the wife. She’d urged it happen sooner, but I resisted.

“He can’t even understand this shit yet,” I’d tell her, as I turned back to Linus and sung him the “baby god damn it” song. You might not be familiar with that one, but it’s huge around these parts. It’s not actually cursing at the baby, just so you know. It’s just catchy, so god damn catchy. It’s sung to the tune of “My Midwest Feathered Hair, Baby”, another diddy of mine I wrote on the road a few years back. It's damn catchy, as all 5 people who’ve heard it would agree, and likewise, would confirm to you how fucking awesome the “baby god damn it” song must be. You’ll have to take my word for it, but I’ll give you an idea of the lyrics:

Hey my little baby, god damn it,
you’re the cutest little bastard, god damn it,
why don’t we go in to this kitchen, god damn it,
and make ourselves some mother fucking food.

It’s got a little backbeat rhythm, and I throw some country drawl on the god damn it part. The lyrics are not fixed, and can evolve in real-time to particularize what makes him adorable at that moment, and also customized to be about whatever we might be doing at that very moment, with only the constant being interspersed cursing. It’s funny shit, and for those of you who are hatin’ me for such behavior, well, here's Samuel L. Jackson - go tell it to him:

But, I can’t do it forever. I’ve been around children who were cursed / blessed with the knowledge and ability to use curse words at a very young age. Of course, it’s absolutely adorable, until it absolutely is not adorable. But by then, you can’t cut it off.

And as much as I’ve joked (or sort of not been joking) about my little buddy shaking up the kindergarten teacher with something like Jay's Rap on the first day, I know that's not really a good idea for anyone.

That's why I agreed to the cut-off when Linus reached six months. But just because I'm not using the words, doesn't mean I can't edit.

Oh what the what? That's right. If television and radio censors can clean up an otherwise suitable "R" rated movie by editing the words into other non-overtly offensive words, well, then so can I.

I worked up a few so far that I've really taken a liking to. For example:

Asshole. Some suitable replacements I've found are: Flagpole, Grass mower, and glassblower. I am partial to black hole, personally, for the science fiction geeky aspect, coupled with the double entendre.

Son of a Bitch. Options are: Mum in the Ditch, Gun totin’ snitch, Jump off a bridge, Fun lovin’ witch, Case of jock itch, and my personal favorite, Faulty light switch.

Mother Fucker. This one I had the most fun with, and came up with these gems: muffler fluster, mustard lubber, puzzler crusher, youngster glover, plumber bugger, thruster hunter, structure jumper, duster gunner, juggler cluster, mugger busker, dumpster hummer, and my personal new favorite, mutter grumbler.

Just because you aren't cursing doesn't mean you aren't frustrated. I'm going to teach my baby that it's ok to vent, so long as you wouldn't be fined by the FCC in the process. That's adorable, and wholesome behavior, son!


A practicing attorney and semi-professional musician, Walker writes for his own amusement, for the sake of opinion, to garner a couple of laughs, and to perhaps provoke a question or two, but otherwise, he doesn't think it'll amount to much.

more about jeffrey d. walker


moments worth living for
fate can change your life, but i'm sick of waiting for him
by jeffrey d. walker
topic: humor
published: 1.11.02

finding the line between young and old
read at your own risk, because once you get it, you might know you're old, too
by jeffrey d. walker
topic: humor
published: 9.14.12


katherine (aka clevertitania)
10.10.11 @ 8:41p

Interesting side note. Penn and Teller: Bullshit is over, but Penn and Teller: Tell a Lie is now on Discovery. And one of their first episodes featured a study that showed cursing actually makes humans better able to tolerate pain.

I never censored what my kid could say or what he heard. My house is a Carlin house, which means the primary rule is; there is no such thing as a 'bad' word. And sure, there've been a few embarrassing moments. But he grew up knowing some words were for grown-ups only, and now as a teenager he's far more conscientious than his peers about when/where to use what kind of language.

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