Profanity promotes pain relief


English researchers have discovered that swearing helps reduce the perception of pain.

That may be so, but my mother still wouldn’t approve of me doing it.

Don’t say **** it’s a **** of a word


May disease fasten upon your limbs and goblins squeeze your entrails isn’t bad as a curse goes.

It’s likely to cause as much amusement as offence, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not quite as to the point as get um, well . . .

Get what? Oh dear,gollly gosh, now I’ve created a dilemma for myself because I think it’s silly to put the first letter and some asterisks but I can’t quite bring myself to type a profanity.

It’s not that I haven’t used it, in fact my favourite expression for someone lacking in intelligence is a seven letter word which starts with those four letters.

I’m not particularly proud of that because both my Presbyterian upbringing and study of literature convince me it’s both wrong and unnecessary. So I try very hard not to use it because with a language as rich as English at my disposal and an intermediate grasp of Spanish, I know I ought to be able to come up with something equally expressive and less offensive.

This preference for more genteel expressions might have something to do with my southern conservatism if the views of Auckland law professor Warren Brookbanks are correct. When asked about stats which show prosecutions for profanity are rising in the south he said:

“I can’t believe it’s because there are more foul-mouthed people in the South Island,” Prof Brookbanks said on Monday.

It’s more likely that the people in the north are more liberal and less offended by that sort of language.

“While in the south, people take offence at rude things people say more readily.”

In spite of that sometimes words do slip out which had I uttered them as a child would have resulted in my mouth being washed out with soap and water.

It’s not polite, it’s not clever, and in some circumstances it’s not even legal,  but there’s something about that arrangement of hard consonants and short vowels which conveys disdain, disgust and derision in a way that alternative words and phrases don’t.

But on those occasions that my self control slips and the word I shouldn’t utter comes out, I’m reminded of a flatmate who responded to someone shouting that at him with, “don’t say **** it’s a **** of a word.

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