Saying bad words is liberating. It’s almost like we have atom bomb-type energy pent up inside us, and when we say a cuss word it all comes out in a mushroom cloud of relief. At least for me it does…
I actually am not that bad about cussing. Sure, every once in a while when I’m trying to fix something and I’m having a hard time (which is almost any time I’m trying to fix something), I’ll let a little potty-word slip out (and no one is more ashamed of that than me…really…). And of course, you know when I say that I am not that bad about cussing, I’m only talking about middle level and high level cuss words. When it comes to lower level cuss words, I’m like a frickin sailor…
Yes, I say frickin, freaking, crap, shoot, dang, heck, and butt about every 3rd or 4th word. But it’s okay, because these are all lower level cuss words. Lower level cuss words are acceptable to be spoken any time without consequence, except when in the presence of pastors and old women. In those cases, anything but pure, direct speech is a one way ticket to hell…
So how can you tell if the cuss words you say on a regular basis are okay to be spoken in any given situation? I have provided the following guide to help you. I suggest you print it out and laminate it, then always keep it in your back left pocket for quick access.
Low level cuss words
A low level cuss word is usually a cleaner version of a much higher level word. So, if you can come up with an acceptable word that means the same thing as a higher level word, but is still more derogatory than than the actual item being spoken of, then it should fall under the category of low level cuss words. For example, when speaking of someone’s anus or their entire posterior (meaning both the anus and the gluteus maximus muscles covered by dermal tissue), instead of saying “anus” you can say “butt,” “booty,” or in the case of a more functional description, “poop chute.” Of course, these are much lower level than the traditional high level word used for the anus, which as you may know is also the word for a donkey.
Middle level cuss words
A middle level cuss word is the hardest to classify, but is the most interesting by far. Most cuss words fall into either the high level or low level categories, so in order to be considered a middle level word, the word must sound very similar to a high level word. For instance, using the example from above, instead of saying “butt,” you may decide to take the Scottish-sounding word “arse” that you heard on the movie Braveheart. This would be fine, except that it sounds so much like the high level version of the word (the donkey-word we mentioned before), that you may end up offending someone and therefore get the aforementioned one-way ticket. If there is any doubt, always revert to the lower level word.
Often times middle level words are not derogatory in any way, but when used they sound so much like a high level word that they become cuss words automatically. For example, when someone says “Aw man, I just really mucked that up,” what they are saying is that they messed up to a point that it made the situation dirty – thus using the word “muck” which is another word for mud or barnyard dung. But because “muck” sounds so much like a high level word (the ever popular f-bomb), it automatically gets elevated to middle level cuss word status. Another example is when someone puts emphasis on a word for the singular purpose of making it sound like a high level word. When a boy asks his mother “hand me the damp cloth,” and puts special emphasis on “damp” to make it sound like a particular high level word (usually just to get a rise out of his mother), the word “damp” becomes a middle level cuss word.
High level cuss words
High level cuss words are the words that, when someone says them in front of you, you feel a small electric shock travel throughout your body. Or in the case of my grandmother, you faint. These words are usually the ones that cannot be spoken on network television (though this is becoming increasingly less true). Saying a high level cuss word in the presence of other people is always wrong and extremely addictive, and should be avoided at all costs. But, in the event that you are by yourself and no one is within 20 feet of you, if you hit your thumb with a hammer or stub your toe on something, you may very quietly (a very, very light whisper) let a high level word slip out. Of course, you will need to repent quickly, but the option is available for this special circumstance.
One other area of high level cuss words is that of taking the Lord’s name in vain. Any time the word “God” is added to another cuss word, regardless of its level, it automatically becomes a high level word. This is also true of adding the word “God” to positive statements, but using them in derogatory ways, like saying “God bless America” at a time when you really want to say a cuss word. In this situation, you are adding the “bless America” part to take the place of a high level cuss word in hopes that you will bypass the consequences of saying a high level cuss word – unfortunately, God sees right through this and you’re still in trouble. Of course, it is still okay to say “God bless America” if you are intending to request that God bestow blessings on our great country.
So, you can see that this whole concept of saying cuss words is very technical. My goal with this guide is not to deter cuss word use – a good low level cuss word has healing effects (though the research is really inconclusive). So let out a few every now and then, but take care to keep it on the down low.