Have you ever tried to train yourself not to use the expletives you’ve been using for years, and to replace them with something else?

I don’t just mean cuss words, although there was a time in middle school where I tried to say “D’Arvit!” instead of “Dang!” because it was from a book I’d read (if anyone knows what book that’s from, I’ll make you a present). I pick up verbal tics for little reason and then find them very hard to shake.

At summer camp I started calling everyone “man” without ever thinking about it. I still don’t know where that came from. Now I’ve got one friend especially who passes on the weird things he says and his ways of saying them to everyone in our circle. And he gets his sayings from another mutual friend, who gets his from another, and so on and so on. One example: The construction, “Things that annoy me: that.” Ways of speaking that drive people crazy: that. But they’re hard to stop doing once you’ve started.

Then there are abbreviations, or “abbrevs.” At first I hated them, then started using them ironically, and now they’re just a part of my lexicon. Which makes me feel like a middle schooler again. Cuz I ush talk pretty dec [because] [usually] [decently].

Right now it’s my exclamations I’m thinking about. Saying “Yikes” and taking a certain risen-again name in vain when I’m frustrated or surprised or sympathetic. I’m trying to figure out a good substitution, something that won’t offend anyone but won’t make me feel like I’m speaking out of a 1950s comic book (“Gee willikers! Golly!”).

Ideas? Because if I don’t come up with something that still carries weight but isn’t horribly offensive, I’m going to start saying “Cthulu.” And honestly, that’s a whole lot of consonants at once.



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4 responses to “Expletive!

  1. Draskireis

    Needs to be two syllables with the first syllable emphasized. Thus, Shoggoth would work better than Cthulhu. Beyond that, I wish you the best of luck, future-roomie.

  2. Laura~
    You know I can have a mouth like a sailor and I have tried really hard to curb it. My favorite substitution to date is to hiss like a cat when it is being really aggressive…you know, the hiss that comes from the back of your throat and lasts as long as you have air. It is satisfying on so many levels!

  3. Mike

    If you do proceed with the use of “Cthuluh,” be prepared to get a lot of inadvertent and, on occasion, very deliberate “gesundheits.”

  4. Francesca


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