Swearing A Sign Of Smarts? Oh, Hell Yes.
Gotta be honest. It pissed me off.
During all those years I wrote a newspaper column - 17, count ‘em - readers were free to swear at me. And did they ever. You have no idea of the rough language they employed.
In letters, emails and voicemails.
I was regularly called the “c” word. And the “b” word. Messages were frequently laced with the “f” word. The "a” word. The “mf” word. The “p” word. The “h” word. And more.
Yet I had to maintain my composure. And keep my responses G-rated. No matter how blue the language aimed at me, I answered the foul-mouthed bastards in a way that wouldn’t get me sacked should my replies somehow find their way to the editor’s desk.
At times it was infuriating. I may be a Christian, but I’m not very good at turning the other cheek.
So it is liberating to finally have my own website where I am free to tee up my inner Lenny Bruce when needed.
Still, I know I shocked a few folks on Facebook recently when a “friend” - whom I’ve never met - suggested that he liked my mug shot and if I happened to be single, please call him. If not, well, eff it.
Finally. I was able to reply in kind. And it was delicious.
Of course, if my horrified Facebook friends had been paying attention they would have noticed that a few weeks earlier I liberally used the "f" word in a post about the immensely entertaining grammar book, “Fucking Apostrophes”.
It's the new me.
Fact is, study after study shows that our mothers were wrong: People don’t swear because they’re uneducated. Quite the contrary. The potty-mouthed tend to have a more expansive vocabulary than those who never cuss.
Don’t take my word for it. Read what The Huffington Post had to say in a 2016 piece headlined “Intelligent People Use More Swear Words According to Study.” Seems researchers at New York’s Marist College found that there was a correlation between the size of a person's vocabulary and proficiency with profanities.
Many other researchers confirm those findings and also say there's ample evidence that cursing makes us happier and healthier than our friends who keep it clean.
Even The New York Times reported last year that vulgar language is a sign of smarts.
“We found that people who could generate a lot of letter words and animal names could also generate the most swear words,” said Dr. Timothy Jay, (professor emeritus Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts). “So as fluency goes up, so does the ability to say swear words, not the other way around.’’
“Fluency is fluency.”
And finally, in an article that listed the "The Best 7 Reasons for Swearing," Psychology Today said using bad language makes us feel good.
“The health benefits of swearing include increased circulation, elevated endorphins, and an overall sense of calm, control, and well-being.”
It's science, dammit.
Hmmm. So now I’m wondering. Do I feel stress-free because I no longer face newspaper deadlines three times a week? Or because I’m flooded with feel-good endorphins due to my new freedom to cuss?
Hell if I know.