Thursday, 30 July 2009

When is a bad word not a bad word?

When it's uttered by the leader of the Tory Party... or my Mum.

Bless him, David Cameron was not aware that the "T" word (the one that rhymes with 'that') he said TWICE during an interview about Twitter on the BBC is not what middle-aged matrons want to hear coming from the lips of "that nice young man who wants to be Prime Minister".

According to one theory, his touching innocence is proof-positive of his poshness, for some reason. Seems that hoorays can use obscenities in a 'nice' way that escapes the rest of us plebs.

But he's is good company. My Mum also suffers from this form of word-blindness. Despite her pillar of community-ness, high standards, well-spokenness and Surrey respectability, she is not averse to a heartfelt, rip-roaring expletive now and then.
Specifically one expletive - Bugger!

Whether the spuds have boiled dry leaving a black crust on the saucepan bottom, the heavens have opened 10 minutes after she's hung the washing out, some well-meaning but useless helper has pulled up her prize peony thinking it's a weed, or someone has the bare-faced gall to steal her parking space, Mum's verbal response is the same.

"Bugger it!" she'll spit, making the very most of the two passion-filled syllables.
(In the case of the stolen parking spot, she'll follow up by winding down the window to deliver a torrent of middle-class abuse, as whoever is in the car with her tries to sink out of sight).

All this from the woman who washed my mouth out with soap (a fresh new bar of green Fairy, I remember it well) when I silently stuck two fingers up at her in a fit of teenage pique years ago. I tried reasoning with her that my mouth wasn't the guilty party - at the most, she should wash my hands - but to no avail.

But no, Mummy dearest (and believe me, she is the best Mum and friend that a gal could have) just will not accept that "Bugger" is a bad word. I tried shoving dictionary defitions in her face, but she just says "Yes, yes. I know what it means".

And yet, ten minutes there'll be a screech of "Buggeration!" from the kitchen as her grip on the baking pan slips and roast spuds bounce across the lino.

But that's OK. It makes her human, it makes her real, it makes her warm and passionate, and it gives me a bargaining chip when my 12-year-old threatens to tell Nana about my frequent use and love of the word "Bollocks".

I'm not sure if it has the same endearing effect for Mr "just call me Dave" Cameron...

1 comment:

  1. Hehe, love love this post. And ya know, I feel like sometimes, words that are only minor expletives (if used with enough panache) can become the worst of words. lol. Like my use of 'bleeeeep!' sometimes. But I try.
    Be sure and pop by & leave a note!