Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pardon My French, I'm Scottish

I overheard a conversation recently where one of the parties involved was telling a sordid tale that required the use of some colorful metaphors. It was obvious that not everyone approved, as that old "swearing is a sign of a small vocabulary" nugget was once again thrown into the discussion.

As the name of my blog suggests, I am a writer (yes, I have no other job and I get paid to write on a daily basis), albeit of questionable talent. Money regularly shows up in my Paypal account for the words that I string together, which means that in the eyes of some people, I must be doing something right.

In the course of those writings, I am seldom if ever asked to use salty language, although that does not prevent me from hurling a stream of obscenities at my ham hands when I misspell "the" for the umpteenth time in a single paragraph.

It therefore stands to reason that my vocabulary may not be as weak as my swearing habits would suggest. I would also say that the theory of that being the case is somewhat moot when you consider that some of the best writer's in the world using curse words to emphasize a point or create a character in their storytelling. People tend to write what they know, which means those words must somehow be a part of their everyday life.Is their vocabulary stunted, or that of their editors, for that matter? I think not.

My foul language came by being a product of my environment. I grew up in an area of Scotland that you don't tend to see on whisky bottle labels and shortbread tins. It was a rather downtrodden place where where unemployment was high and tolerance to alcohol abuse was low. That was not a combination that resulted in flowery language being the norm. Instead, the C-word (and I don't mean Cancer) was regularly used as a way of describing the positive aspects of an individual, as in ...."that fucking Bobby is a good cunt."

As much as I was a quiet, studious kid that liked to read and spend time in the library, I was also the son of a bar manager, and as such spent a fair amount of time in the pub. It was there that the more putrid of curse words started to break through my literary filter and into my impressionable young brain. The point is this: Yes, I may swear a lot, but I'll be fucked if it's because of a lack of vocabulary!!

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