My curs­ing Mini-Me

GA Voice - - Outspoken -

Ever have a kid em­bar­rass you or some­one you know in pub­lic? One of my fa­vorite such sto­ries comes from a for­mer col­league, whose son was just a few years old when they went to see a movie at a lo­cal theater. After grab­bing their tick­ets and mak­ing a cus­tom­ary trip to the con­ces­sion stand to grab some pop­corn and drinks, they headed to their seats. When his son tried to place his kid soda in the cup holder, it was too small to stay in and fell right through to the floor, smash­ing his drink be­neath them.

The lit­tle boy then pro­claimed, “G*****n cup,” to which my friend was mor­ti­fied. He said it was then he re­al­ized how much he cursed at home.

Let me cor­rect my­self. It was one my fa­vorite sto­ries, be­cause at the time it hap­pened I was not a par­ent. Now I re­late to this story.

The other day I was at­tempt­ing to clean up after my tod­dler, which those in the know can tell you is a mon­u­men­tal task. While do­ing the bend-and-walk to gather un­used toys, I wasn’t able to get a good hold on one and kept drop­ping it. After the third at­tempt I be­came frus­trated and said, “Well hell,” and con­tin­ued in my at­tempts. A small voice be­hind me be­gan to re­peat my bad word in a very cute, South­ern way: “Hey-yewl.” Granted we weren’t in pub­lic, but I im­me­di­ately re­al­ized I too curse a lot at home and now that he is in mim­ick­ing mode, I need to curb the habit be­fore it gets worse.

Or should I? You are taught not to curse be­cause do­ing so gives oth­ers the im­pres­sion you are less in­tel­li­gent. Sailors in par­tic­u­lar are guilty of it for some rea­son, so curs­ing like one seems to be quite a blem­ish on your rep­u­ta­tion. Now science has proven sailors and I are ac­tu­ally smarter than our clean­mouthed coun­ter­parts. Why? We sim­ply have a larger vo­cab­u­lary.

The study comes from psy­chol­o­gists Kristin Jay and Ti­mothy Jay of Marist Col­lege and the Mas­sachusetts Col­lege of Lib- eral Arts. Their hy­poth­e­sis is peo­ple who are well-versed in curse words are more likely to have greater over­all lan­guage flu­ency too. In other words, the more words you know the more uniquely you can ex­press your­self.

So all those sur­prised looks from fam­ily and friends over the years at how an on-air per­son­al­ity like me could have such col­or­ful lan­guage should have in­stead ex­changed a col­lec­tive gaze of awe at the ca­pac­ity of my brain. It’s okay, I un­der­stand how in­tim­i­dat­ing me and my in­ter­nal dic­tio­nary must be.

So if we run into each other on the street, and Mr. Carter drops an ac­ci­den­tal f-bomb or de­clares where some­thing can go if he doesn’t like it, try not to clamor for pho­to­graphs at his ge­nius. Just thank his mother for be­ing so pro­gres­sive.

Melissa Carter is one of the Morn­ing Show hosts on B98.5. In ad­di­tion, she is a writer for the Huff­in­g­ton Post. She is rec­og­nized as one of the first out ra­dio per­son­al­i­ties in At­lanta and one of the few in the coun­try. Fol­low her on Twit­ter@Melis­saCarter

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