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Photo by Natã Figueiredo on Unsplash

The Power of the F Bomb

Admit it. You swear sometimes.

I heard on a radio talk show this morning that the average person swears, mostly using the F bomb, at least once a day by 10:50 am. I am not sure where this statistic came from, but for myself, I believe its true. By that time, most people have dealt with traffic, spilled coffee, noticed that they are submitting late reports, stock market information has started to come out, and children are making them mental. People have started their day; have possibly gotten shampoo in their eyes, been woken up by an annoying alarm clock and have started their work assignments.

So, it DOES make sense.

When I was a child, if my mom said Fuck, we ran! We knew we were in trouble. It usually took her a long time to actually spit out the entire word..she would start with Ffffffffffffffffff…..and EVENTUALLY would get to the UCK part. As soon as we heard the UCK part, we ran away, holding our bottoms, just in case she caught up to us. I used to wonder why it was so difficult for her to say, when our father used the word in every other sentence.

In grade 1, I remember my sister, who is 6 years older than me, thought it would be funny to write “fuck” on a bookmark that was in my Reader. Our teacher specifically warned us, “Do not write in the books or on the bookmarks because someone else will be using your books in my other class”. I told my sister what my teacher had said, and she wrote it anyhow, just to see what would happen.

Long story short, (this was in 1977), my teacher saw the word written on the cardboard bookmark, and yelled at me in front of the whole class. After she was done scolding me, she pulled my pants down in front of the entire room and smacked my bottom with a yardstick! I was so horrified that I peed my pants. The entire class made fun of me for the rest of the year, and I don’t think I ever forgave my big sister for it. I was so humiliated. If I had to go through that again, chances are I would have told her to F**k off, and headed for the principal’s office.

But, WHY is this such a BAD word?

No other word gives you such satisfaction as Fuck. It’s a great word to yell if your mad, or say over and over again if you stub your toe. “Fuck fuck fuck fuck” (who hasn’t been there?) or a great syllable to slur out after a few too many glasses of wine (fucccck I’m drunk) or even a fun word to say when you see someone you haven’t seen in ages (“fuck dude! I haven’t seen you in forever? How the fuck are you?)….and so forth.

There is no other word in the English language that has the same power as the word FUCK. It is basically its own exclamation point! I don’t personally know another human being who has not used that word out loud at least once in my presence. Its just so damn versatile.

Just for fun, I googled it, and the definition made me laugh out loud:

fuck

fək/vulgar slang

verb

  1. have sexual intercourse with (someone).
  2. ruin or damage (something).

noun

  1. an act of sexual intercourse

exclamation

3. used alone or as a noun the fuck or a verb in various phrases to express anger, annoyance, contempt, impatience, or surprise, or simply for emphasis.

See? Its a verb, a noun, an exclamation, and could even being an adjective (well, look at that fucking thing ) Another noun use is how many “Fucks” you give.

Oddly enough, the definition is captured pretty accurately. Still, I felt like a naughty little girl googling the F word and giggling.

It brings to mind, the origin of the word. and how it became such an overly utilized, yet taboo word in our culture. Some research explained the following:

According to readings, it is of German origin, related to Dutch, which means “to strike” and to “move back and forth”. Dating back to the 16th century.

That is DEFINITELY not the usage that this century practices.

If it dates back to the 16th century, that explains why my grandparents, who were German, used to utter the word from time to time as well. (There’s nothing funnier than an old person cussing with F bombs).

With that said, if you think about it, how many uses can we think of for this compelling word? I know I use it in traffic quite often, or when I make a mistake. I use it when someone makes me upset, and I use it when I am in shock or scared. Its used as a follow up to a laugh, or a scream. It can be a clear descriptor. And, we have a finger that is specifically assigned for the word and is used to silently tell someone to Fuck off. No other word in our language has an actual digit, that is utilized so specifically.

So WHY is it so taboo and “vulgar”?

In the professional world, I hear Fucks all the time by the highest ranks in our office. I have made a plan for when my supervisor retires, that for every F Bomb she drops, I will put a black jelly bean in a jar as her gift. The jar would be overflowing already, and I have only been working with her for 5 years. I still laugh when I hear her say it, as long as its not directed at me. Its just such a powerful word. It makes a point. And for some reason, when older people say it, I can’t help but find it humorous as F**k.

I have heard school teachers at gatherings swear, I have heard doctors cuss, and I most definitely have heard lawyers use the prolific word numerous times. It just seems so odd that it is still a naughty word!

My daughter swears like a sailor, at 24, as do her friends. My partner at home cannot utter a sentence with something being “fucking”. Our retired neighbors use it regularly and TV movies and shows use it frequently.It has become a word more commonly said than Arm, or Pen….

Perhaps it would lose some of its effectiveness if it wasn’t vulgar? Maybe the messages just wouldn’t be as clear without Fuck in them. Maybe the description wouldn’t be as clear, without describing it as “fucking”, and maybe we wouldn’t be able to comprehend how bad something was ruined, if it was described as “fucked”. Who knows?

All I know is that I am a huge fan of the word, and I am not afraid to use it when required, or when I just feel like saying it. I am not always careful where and when I use it, but I do try and read my audience before I say it out loud. Trust me, though, it’s always under my breath, and one of the first words that comes to mind when its needed. It’s just a word, after all. An extremely strong word with more meaning and power behind it than most other words in our culture.

So, there you f*king have it.

Writer of relationships / early childhood and mental health . Poetry and fiction dabbler

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