The Hess Report

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Fun with bad words

In the interest of clarity, I'd like to explain a convention that I'll most likely use here. Frequently. In order to keep this a fairly family-oriented thing, I'm going to use a nice abbreviation for a certain turn of phrase. It's not that I'm worried that kids will be reading this, but mostly it's that my mom will.

Anyway, it works like this: take your base word. bastard Let's say that you want to modify it. Increase it's impact. Yes, indeed, you could precede it with a two-syllable word, the participial form of what A Christmas Story refers to as "The mother of all dirty words." But let's say that your mom is in the room and that you don't so much mind her hearing the root word, although that's not the best thing that could happen, but you really really don't want her to hear the modifier, for reasons of personal moritification, etc. Let's perform a standard linguistic taboo deformation on the first word, choosing contraction as our method. We now have the new word f'bastard, which sounds like you're meeting and greeting at a Star Trek convention Klingonese luncheon.

Anyway... we take that ugly, unpronouncable contraction, run it through a decade of difficult consonant-cluster-loss, and arrive at... fastard. And there you have it. Say it in a room full people in general conversation, and it won't necessarily grab people's ears, like, for example, the word "penis" would. Clueless folks who would become disturbed at even the mention of the word "bastard" in public might not even notice that you have some something much worse. And those in the know or with anything approaching a quick wit will get it immediately, and then you'll be in all the better with them, because you've all just shared a nice little in-joke.

This can help you out in all kinds of situations. Having trouble getting noticed at the dinner table? Ask someone to pass the froccoli. Boss want to know what's wrong today? Just tell him (or her) that the fustomers can't make up their finds. So much fun.

The entire point is this: if you see me refer to someone as a complete foron, you'll know that it wasn't a typo.

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