We are in urgent need of some new Canadian swear words – words that will curdle the blood, shatter the will and reduce evildoers and fools to their rightful place in the universe. Our old ones just don’t cut it any more. First, they have gone from a state of relative infrequent usage, prompted only by the most extreme provocation to a state where they are now used as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, interjection, particle, and possibly even a gerund.
Second, body parts and functioned are no longer taboo subjects. The Victorians monitored their language to such a degree that they didn’t refer to bulls but to “gentlemen cows” and they couldn’t refer to legs at all, hence the use of limbs as in “table limbs”; and of course no one ever went to bed for fear of the nasty images that might arise, so instead they retired for the evening.
Third, we have become a diverse and multi-racial society. That means we ruin the risk of creating mass confusion among those for whom the pejorative terms will be completely meaningless, or worse, completely devoid of emotional context. “May the fleas of a thousand camels infect your armpits”. Really?
No, we need an entirely new set of Canadian cuss words, words that will serve us in periods of stress and anger; words to use when folks cut you off in traffic, go through a express checkout with one hundred and twenty two different items, or who talk on their cells phones so loudly that not only the audience but members of the cast can hear them.
We need words that are so emotionally charged that the very act of uttering then will lower our blood pressure, free our systems from all negative energy, and let the doofus on the receiving end know with great certainty that he has pushed us past all reasonable limits of human endurance.
So, I propose the following. The S”***” word has lost all power. Let me refer you to an amusing list of how various groups now use this words. (http://www.thejaywalker.com/pages/shit_happens.html). Although it comprised one of George Carlin’s Seven Words You Are Not Allowed to Use on Television, it has clearly run its course as a major offender. Instead I suggest that we substitute the word TAX. Like the S word, it is amenable to having modifiers. So where it was possible to have either bovine or equine or canine S, it will now be possible to use Income or Property, or Sales, or Gas as the modifying expletive of choice. So, when someone asks you how you like, oh, say, the Provincial NDP, you can look them in the eye, spit, and exclaim “Oh Gas TAX”.
The “F**” word, sadly, has also outlived its ability to shock and horrify. Teens use it as a casual greeting, comedians use it as an intensifier, and seniors of both gender persuasions have been heard uttering it on golf courses and in the buffet lines when some Gen X tries to butt in.
To return to the fundamental role of cuss words – namely to shock and horrify, I’d suggest a much more contemporary word, namely AUDIT! Some goof nearly runs you down in a crosswalk? Instead of screaming the F*** word at the, try “Well, AUDIT you, buddy”.
It may be argued that neither AUDIT nor TAX are indigenous words to our country and will do little to enhance the Canadian image of separateness from the rest of the English speaking world. An addition to a Canadian Cussing Compendium then is totally Canadian and can be used to describe anyone whom you dislike or whose behaviours you deplore, and that word is TOQUE
Just think of the possibilities. What a TOQUE. AUDIT that, TOQUE, and of course, TAX that, TOQUE. Sort of makes you glad to be Canadian, doesn’t it?
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