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“…if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”  (George Orwell)

I’ve tended to use profanity the way many people do—as an exclamation point. Hit my head on the freezer door (freezers on the top? Not a good idea), or bang my leg on a chair? Curse.  Break a plate or glass (I am very bad with glass), knock a goblet of wine on the rug? Definitely curse. Or find a mess left by a pet? Curse, curse, curse.

On occasion, my curses have been directed inward—when I couldn’t believe I’d been dumb enough to make this or that mistake, or when I disappointed people I loved; and on other occasions, I’ve hurled them outward, generally at the TV during football games.

When I was teaching, my football curses were a convenient way to let go of pent up frustration, and the hundred times I bit my tongue to keep from saying what I knew I’d regret later. The act of spewing invective at players, coaches, and officials who couldn’t hear me gave me the release I needed to face the next week’s set of provocations with my intellect, vocabulary, and self-respect intact.


Not so this past year.

It’s hard to bite one’s tongue when reason and decency are in scarce supply. When those in power veer from what is critical, and what requires thoughtful examination and discourse, straight into selfishness, lies, and sycophancy, and when incoherent blather is lauded as expertise. It’s hard to resist invective when even decent, caring people feel they must use the crudest and basest means in order to be heard, make their points, when they feel it is acceptable.

I understand because I have been hurling curses  at more than football games with an ugliness, ferocity, and frequency that is toxic to their underlying sentiments.

And so, among the handful of resolutions I am making this year, if I stick to only one, it will be this: to avoid sinking into the muck around me, and protect my language and thought from corruption.

Football season is almost over. I expect my tongue will be sore for months….

Wishing all a Happy New Year.

©2017 All Rights Reserved






8 thoughts on “Invective

  1. I love your piece and I sympathise. As someone who’s worked in the theatre for many years, I feel quite comfortable swearing. Still, I use it when I feel the effect is required, consequently sparingly. However, I start swearing like the proverbial sailor’s parrot whenever I listen to the news!

    A very happy New Year to you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Katia. The news is definitely a major curse trigger! I think that will be another resolution for the new year—to watch less of it. Small doses might help a lot!

      Wishing you all the best, too, in 2018! Raise the glass high! 🙂


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