“Wanna hear a joke?”
“Well sure, why not? Everyone loves a good joke”, you reply, as you listen intently, ready to be overcome by extreme hilarity. You hear the joke, and, well, if you agree with me, there’s no better feeling than laughing so hard that you feel your ribs about to crack and intestines about to spill over. “Oh my God! That was so funny.” “Wanna hear it again?” And the cycle repeats itself. The joke is told, you laugh out loud — and manage not to topple over. You’d probably leave feeling happy for the rest of the day.
But what if you had to hear that same old joke. Every. Single. Day?
You’d try to fake a laugh, maybe, just so you don’t hurt the other person’s feelings. But every single time the joke is repeated, a bit of the hilarity is stripped off, because a joke is at its funniest only the first few times it’s told (if not, then it must be a really, really good joke which I’d also want to hear). When overused, it just loses its essence.
A lot of things have evolved over the years, most of which have come to stay.
Technology. Ripped jeans. Fast food. Random swear words.
Of all the things that disturb me in this world, nothing disturbs my insides more than the last one. Well, maybe because I haven’t seen anyone walk virtually naked or eat anything disgusting in front of me before. Majority of the posts I find on social media are in one way or another bombarded with curse words. Then there’s a lot of music. Not to talk of the movies. It’s not as frequent for Ghanaians as it might be for those in the Western world, due to cultural differences. Nevertheless, it’s still quite frequent.
Throwing my mind back to my second year of secondary school, I can vaguely remember four of my dorm mates and I heading out of our house to the assembly hall for entertainment. It was a visiting Saturday as well, so we had to clean up after the messes that had been made before leaving. Upon getting to the entrance, we chanced upon a very aggravated form three girl, who, apparently was trying to mop up the floor, but couldn’t do so as quickly as she wanted to because everyone else kept stepping all over it on their way out. That’s when she decided she’d express her anger in words.
And my, what colourful vocabulary she used.
A couple of her friends who were around were laughing in surprise at her sudden outburst. But those I was walking with weren’t amused at all. The person I least expected to show displeasure was the one who spoke up. She said something that has stuck for a while now. If I can paraphrase correctly: “She should know her limit. The number of swear words you use in a sentence isn’t supposed to prove anything.”
Now, I’m not someone who can admit to never having sworn before. In fact, I do it most of the time, when I get pissed (and I can get pissed over the slightest things). Sure, I don’t make them as audible as most people would, but at that moment I truly understand that, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks”. After I’m done, it leaves me feeling like I got a load off my chest. But despite the fact that I do occasionally swear, I can never get used to being comfortable hearing swear words. For some songs I listen to, I literally have to turn down the volume whenever it gets to some parts, and eventually, I stop listening to the song altogether.
Even as a medical student, I have become accustomed to openly talking about body parts freely, not excluding the private parts. But then hearing people refer to private parts in the form of swear words just seems to add some whole other weird meaning to it, making it uncomfortable to listen to altogether.
My own artistic representation of different reactions to potty mouths.
I came across a quote just recently, which I do believe to an extent.
People who use swear words regularly tend to be stronger emotionally and more intelligent.
Taking into consideration what I said about me swearing to myself during my emotional outbursts, I look at this in the perspective that whoever runs their mouth without thinking twice has probably reached the point where nothing perturbs them anymore. That person has either been exposed to a whole lot of disappointments in the past, or well, just doesn’t care.
But everyone, as my friend from senior high school would say, should know their limit. People who go on diets might have what we call ‘cheat days’ — the days they get to (moderately) eat anything that’s not on their diet menu. But what’s the point of being on the diet if you get to eat the junk food whenever you feel like, and as much as you want to. All the junk feels good, but restraining yourself and going by your diet discipline will most likely leave your body feeling healthier.
Of course, not everyone will agree with me on this — not that I expect them to — but I think my previous analogy is pretty much applicable to my main point. Sure, you may not be able to stop yourself from using curse word altogether. But with a little time and effort, everyone has the ability to be able to exercise self-control. Regulate yourself. Cut down. Get a muzzle too, if you think that’ll help. 😂
The kind of stuff that comes out of your mouth can go a long way to determine others’ perception about you. That may not seem to matter once you’re surrounded by your normal everyday people. But how easy is it going to be to keep your potty mouth to yourself when you’re somewhere that it really matters? Old habits, like trees, die hard.
Maybe put in a little bit of deeper thought before saying whatever it is you want to say. It counts if what you say uplifts a person’s spirits or brings them down. You never know what kind of impact the words you utter could make.