It’s Rubbish Really

January 24, 2006    By: Kristen J @ 10:39 pm   Category: Life

As a good Latter-day Saint I am supposed to be seeking after things that are praiseworthy, lovely, and of good report. Sometimes I worry that my language is too coarse and vulgar. Now I enjoy a good hell and damn and I must confess that @$$ is one of my very favorite words. If it were up to me I’d use that word a lot. Alas I am living amongst some tiny people who think that stupid is a bad word.

A favorite activity of these little ones is to listen carefully to everyone’s language and pounce upon any offenders. It seems I can’t get through one day with out hearing, “Mom, he said a bad word!” No one is safe from these accusations. Not me, not Geoff, and especially not my son who seems to take the majority of the language police beatings.

So I try to keep it clean. One word I have a particularly difficult time with is the word crap. I say it…a lot. It’s a bit controversial. I know good Latter-day Saints who use the word prolifically and I know good Latter-day Saints who twitch at its utterance.

Well, my friends, I’ve decided to change my evil ways. I’ve often thought about ways to replace this word in my vocabulary and now serendipity has provided a way for me to do so. Let me tell you how:

The other day Geoff and I found ourselves in the pediatrics ward of our local hospital. It turned out that our darling baby had contracted a case of double pneumonia with what the doctors think is RSV (the tests are still out on that one). After spending the day in a tiny hospital room with a very crabby child who howled at the mere thought of any sort of medical procedure being done I was ready to go home.

Geoff came to the hospital as soon as he had the other children settled with loving ward members. He hates hospitals and as soon as he steps foot into one he starts asking anyone official looking when he can leave. My joke for him is that when he is 95 years old I’m going to find him walking down the side of the road pushing an iv stand with his wrinkley booty poking out the back of his hospital gown.

After a few hours of the baby looking and acting considerably better we eventually got the word that we were free to go. We had a lovely British nurse discharging us from the hospital and I was enjoying listening to her accent. She was talking to my baby who was pretty fussy and the nurse said to her, “I know baby, this is rubbish really.” I thought to myself, the British sure use the word rubbish a lot.

When she left the room for a minute I said to Geoff, “The British sure use the word rubbish a lot.”

To which he replied, “Kind of like Americans use the word crap a lot.”

I thought to myself, hhhmmm, very interesting. And yet rubbish sounds a lot less vulgar to me. Then I thought, maybe I should use the word rubbish (you must admit it’s a cool word) in place of crap! The only thing that concerns me about using that word is my lack of knowledge in the British slang department. Rubbish means trash, right?

It’s the New Year which means it’s time to clean up my act. I’m starting with flushing the pooh and bringing in the trash.


  1. I think rubbish is a great word! I used to say blast! all the time when I was in college, but crap just works better for me now. I guess I’ve just gotten hardened. :) I was babysitting some kids today and I said freakin’ and the little 4 year old girl told me I said the “F” word. Hmmm, I guess I better think about what I say. hehehe I can most certainly say freaking will not be leaving my vocabulary any time soon.

    BTW, I heard one well known LDS person who is supposedly against it say crap on Sunday…

    Comment by Jamie J — January 24, 2006 @ 11:08 pm

  2. Oh and I hope my little neice gets better soon!

    Comment by Jamie J — January 24, 2006 @ 11:09 pm

  3. i think the whole swearing thing is funny actually, and aside from the real “f” word i don’t see why people have such a problem with it. the scripture that is always refrenced is actually about oaths, not about using certain words. i enjoy using whatever word best suits the moment. sometimes it may very well be a hell, or even an arse… on the other hand my mother in law craps purple twinkies if you use the word fart! i guess it’s just a personal thing what words you think are bad.

    but you know, i think that your kids are right, stupid is a bad word.

    Comment by Aimee Roo — January 24, 2006 @ 11:55 pm

  4. I have to admit that I use the word “fetch” far too often. It’s something that I picked up on my mission. It’s not that I feel so bad for saying it or anything, it’s just that I should broaden my language skills. I kind of like “rubbish” now that you mention it. It’s kind of hard to say when you stub your toe though isn’t it?


    Comment by Ian Cook — January 25, 2006 @ 1:09 am

  5. Thinking about it, my son made up his own on accident one day. He was three I think. “Criggit!” He said. I should use that one too. Much easier to use when stubbing your toe.

    Comment by Ian Cook — January 25, 2006 @ 1:11 am

  6. Kristen,
    “Rubbish” is perfectly benign. Enjoy!

    Comment by Ronan — January 25, 2006 @ 6:33 am

  7. To quote the late, great J. Golden Kimball:

    I understand you brethren can’t go on missions because you swear too much. You can overcome it. Hell, I did.’ ….

    If J. Golden Kimball can quit swearing, anyone can! Hell, even I did! :-)

    Comment by Brian Duffin — January 25, 2006 @ 7:15 am

  8. Jamie-Hhhmmm…I can’t believe that some well known lds person said crap. I thought he hated that word!

    Thanks for the info Ronan. I was hoping you’d come through for me.

    Ian- I have to say I really like the word criggit.

    Aimee Roo-You’re right stupid is bad. It’s my son’s favorite swear word.

    Brian- I love J Golden Kimball. I hope all the stories about him are true.

    Comment by Kristen J — January 25, 2006 @ 7:45 am

  9. Oh yeah, the baby is recovering well. She’s gotten a little skinny over the whole affair but she’s making a comeback.

    Comment by Kristen J — January 25, 2006 @ 8:30 am

  10. I have on very good authority a very high up GA swears often. I think that’s funny.

    Comment by Rusty — January 25, 2006 @ 9:41 am

  11. To my thinking, there are certain moments that only the proper expletive will cover. Anything else is semantically impotent.

    Alas, if we had pure and undiluted essential language that contained the right verbiage for powerful self-expression, harsh words would probably never be necessary.

    Comment by Jim Cobabe — January 25, 2006 @ 12:12 pm

  12. Jim- too true

    Rusty- So who is it?

    Comment by Kristen J — January 25, 2006 @ 12:19 pm

  13. Ronan, you were far too easy…from my mission experience in England I’d say that “rubbish” means “crap”…or at least they are pretty good equivalents. It’s really another word for “garbage”…it’s the context and the sound that makes “rubbish” such a good substitute. Oh crap! the freaking rubbish is spilling out of my dustbin!!! I’ve gotta go take care of it.

    Comment by don — January 25, 2006 @ 12:34 pm

  14. “Piffle” and “Phooey” are the euphemisms of choice at our house.

    Comment by Chad Too — January 25, 2006 @ 1:45 pm

  15. I thinks it the intent that matters, and not the word you use.

    Comment by George — January 25, 2006 @ 1:48 pm

  16. Hey phooey’s a good one. I haven’t thought much about that one since I watched Scooby Doo as a child.

    I don’t know George if I walked around my house saying sh*@ but with a happy face I don’t think my kids teachers would appreciate it when my kids started using that word in the classroom.

    Comment by Kristen J — January 25, 2006 @ 2:53 pm

  17. I always get on my kids’ backs when they call each other stupid but I don’t seem to have a problem calling them a dufus…is that wrong?

    Comment by Russ J — January 25, 2006 @ 3:02 pm

  18. Yes, Russ, that is wrong.

    It’s “doofus”.

    Comment by Geoff J — January 25, 2006 @ 3:14 pm

  19. It’s not wrong to me. Doofus adds kind of a comical element to the whole situation.

    Personally I like to call my kids turkeys when they’re acting up. That way it’s a little bit funny but they know I’m not lovin’ their behavior.

    Comment by Kristen J — January 25, 2006 @ 3:39 pm

  20. The year of the Dog brings rubbish for Kristen!

    (No, really, it’s a good thing…)

    My husband told me some time ago that he’d noticed our four year old was using the ‘d-word’ to express her frustration. My reaction?



    Comment by Téa — January 25, 2006 @ 9:16 pm

  21. I’ve tried to switch to milder exclamations, like those used by Penfold on DangerMouse. Oh crumbs! Oh carrots!

    I have a feeling rubbish might not get me as many strange looks. Let me know how it goes, okay Kristen?

    Comment by Téa — January 25, 2006 @ 9:20 pm

  22. We actually had a long argument at our dinner table the other night about the distinction between “rubbish” and “garbage”. My 8-year-old nearly came to blows with his sister, insisting that trash that isn’t wet or messy is “rubbish,” while trash that must be enclosed in plastic before going into the can is “garbage.” I think he must have heard “rubbish” in context with “dustbin,” and concluded that rubbish must be dry, like dust. The OED, however, did not confirm his thesis.

    (The moral of the story, I think, is that some people can argue about anything (perhaps it’s genetic). And some mothers will use any excuse to pull out the OED and the cool little magnifying glass.)

    I say damn and hell way too much. And “for hell’s sake,” which I’m sure is not original, but I’ve been saying it too long to remember where it came from.

    Comment by Kristine — January 25, 2006 @ 9:49 pm

  23. “Rubbish” is a good one. And it’s an exclamation that won’t make me cringe when I hear it coming out of my five-year-old’s mouth. Hooray!

    I’ve gotten horribly lax, I admit. I think my oldest lulled me into a false sense of security with her general good attitude and miraculous ability to not notice or pick up cursing and semi-cursing (“crap” is a hard one for me — as in, “You’ve got black crap all around your mouth that needs to be wiped off.” It’s so nonspecific, yet conveniently descriptive.)

    My other two kids are much, much more tuned in to what I say, and much more likely to repeat it, so I’ve been trying very hard to eliminate certain problematic words and phrases from my vocabulary. It’s not that all of these words are shocking, but they don’t sound good coming from a small child. Probably a clue that an adult could do without them too, I guess.

    Comment by Allison — January 26, 2006 @ 9:24 am

  24. Kristen

    I agree that some words that are not acceptable as part of our daily use can still be offensive, but does it really make it better to walk around your house saying shoot all day long when you really mean “sh*@”. This is what I meant by intent. Even most offensive words have proper usage, we need to recognize that, but also be sensitive to those who are around us. The occasional use of “sh*@” in a conversation is less offensive to me than the continuious use of shoot when “sh*@” is meant.

    My 4 year tells me all the time that a word is a bad word when she doesn’t know what it means, and when this happens me or my wife will sit down and explain the word to her. We try to explain proper usage to her, sometimes she gets it and sometime she don’t.

    The use of a euphemism to express a more vulgar comment in my thought is still swearing. I am not one of these people that gets upset everytime somebody swears, but if they are trying to sugarcoat an insult or a vulgar thought, by going to a gentler and supposably more acceptable word or phrase… I will correct my children when I hear them swearing, but I also point it out when they use other words too.

    Comment by George — January 26, 2006 @ 9:31 am

  25. I’m picking up what your laying down George. Shoot doesn’t bother me but sometimes freakin’ does. After reading your comment I guess that’s not very consistent.

    Comment by Kristen J — January 26, 2006 @ 9:41 am

  26. Thanks and to be honest I am not always consistent either. I constanly struggle with gosh darn

    Comment by George — January 26, 2006 @ 10:54 am

  27. I always say, if its in the bible than its good enough to be said out loud. So Hell, Damn, and @$$ are used to flavor my conversation. But just like any spice, if you over due it you can ruin your main dish.

    As far as sh** is concerned; I find it a fine Southern “cuss” word. First of all, how is it any different in meaning that crap, poop, stink, pooh, feces, or any other plethera of words that all indicate the same thing?? It just sounds bad because others have told you that. Its not really any worse than those other words.

    However, since Mormons can be so silly about this (they strain at a gnat way too often), something I’ve tried that works really well: is to use “cuss words” from comic books I’ve read. For example, when Superman wants to drop some cuss words, he says, “GREAT SCOTT!” Try that one when you’re angry: It’s hilarious!! People around you will howl in surprise and laughter. Or use Robin’s myriad of phrases, like, “Holy ____(fill in blank)___ Batman!”. Filling in the blank quickly is a fun challenge when you need to drop some cuss words fast.

    Of course, if all else fails, you can use foreign “cuss” words. I went on a Dutch mission and learned a few, and surprising to myself, I’ll drop a few in anger by accident. No one here in the states (Dutch language is not that popular) knows what I’ve said.

    Most people, being by nature, non-confrontational, aren’t so disturbed by the cuss words as they are the anger behind them that makes them feel uncomfortable. Thats why there will always be “cuss” words. Any word that becomes commonly used in anger, is going to make someone feel uncomfortable. Even “Fetch” is going to make someone feel uncomfortable when said in anger.

    Comment by Speaking Up — January 26, 2006 @ 12:04 pm

  28. I had a friend in New York who use to say, “Sugar Honey Iced Tea.” It was hillarious.

    Comment by Mardell — January 27, 2006 @ 1:39 pm

  29. My kids are very anti-swearing. I’d like to think it’s because they have a mom who never, ever swears, ever. But the truth is, it’s because they have a dad who swears when he gets angry. So they have a bad association with swearing and they really hate it.

    My dad, when I was growing up, rarely said anything worse than “Fiddlesticks!” when he was angry. It was tortuous for my friends, because he’d be mad, but his “Fiddlesticks!” always made them want to laugh, and everyone knows laughing when your friend’s dad is angry is not a good idea.

    In high school my husband used to use British swear words and gestures that he picked up from the British tv show TheYoung Ones, because teachers and other adults had no idea what they meant. His favorite was the flip off gesture, which on the Young Ones was like a peace sign. Maybe Ronan can tell me if it’s actually used that way or if it was just something the Young Ones made up.

    Comment by Susan M — January 27, 2006 @ 7:18 pm

  30. No, Geoff, you are wrong.

    It’s “doophus”.

    Comment by Spencer J — January 29, 2006 @ 4:29 pm

  31. Once while I was in Argentina with my wife, we met a cute Australian little girl. One day this girl was wearing a t-shirt that read “Purshka,” and I used it then as if it were a swear word, and it felt great, such a strong and colorful word. According to the girl, it means banana in Portugues, but I can’t atest it. So, there you go “Purshka.”

    Comment by Manuel — January 30, 2006 @ 11:19 am

  32. So many choices! What’s a girl to do?

    Comment by Kristen J — January 31, 2006 @ 9:24 am

  33. Does anyone have any authority for any word besides the Lord’s name being a religious sin, as opposed to just a social wrong? I’ve always had a hard time believing that God lets us decide what words would be sinful as a society (i.e., which words get to be cuss words), and then holds us to that arbitrary standard. Accordingly, the only words I see as problematic are those describing Providence (I make no exclusion of the f-bomb). I’m willing to change my mind though (since I rarely cuss) if someone knows something I don’t.

    Comment by jimbob — February 3, 2006 @ 3:13 pm

  34. The For the Strength of Youth pamphlet says that swearing harms your spirit. I guess that means it impairs your spirituality or something. I knew another Elder on my mission who used to say “Got dandruff and some of it itches!!” — he said it so fast that it sounded like he was cussing. My District Leader was from South Africa, where “sh!t” is socially acceptable, but “crap” is considered very vulgar and offensive. He’d casually say “Sh!t” and everybody would be shocked, but if someone said “crap”, he’d say “Elder! Watch your language!” Pretty funny.

    Comment by James D. — February 7, 2006 @ 12:21 am

  35. Ha! Ha! These are great stories. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Kristen J — February 7, 2006 @ 8:50 am

  36. “The For the Strength of Youth pamphlet says that swearing harms your spirit.”

    Yes, but what does that mean? Which words are the “swearing words”? And why would the spirit be harmed by purely cultural offenses?

    Comment by jimbob — February 10, 2006 @ 9:10 am

  37. jimbob,

    My guess it has to do with intentions and character more than anything else. For instance, unintentionally cussing certainly would not harm anyone’s spirit or character. But intentionally hurting others with any words — and especially makinga habit of doing so — probably would. If the goal in this life is to become like Christ then that must include all of our words, thoughts, and deeds right?

    Comment by Geoff J — February 10, 2006 @ 9:28 am

  38. But under your hypothesis, the word doesn’t matter, only the intent. And swearing, in its traditional definition, is about certain words simply being wrong to say, regardless of intent. I mean, you can’t get up at church and say to the congregation that “Y’all are the greatest sons of b****es I know,” even though to do so would be to give a compliment (at least down here in Texas). So even with good intent, some words are apparently out of bounds. And my point is that they are out of bounds not because they are sinful, but because our societies frown on them. More importantly, I refuse to believe that the Lord is willing to co-opt our societal norms and attach “sin” to violations thereof.

    Comment by jimbob — February 13, 2006 @ 11:17 am

  39. And swearing, in its traditional definition, is about certain words simply being wrong to say, regardless of intent.

    I don’t think so. We don’t hold little children culpable for swearing unknowingly – nor do we hold those who don’t speak English culpable for swearing in English unknowingly. The words are offensive to those who understand them and using them is almost always intended to shock or offend.

    I mean, you can’t get up at church and say to the congregation that “Y’all are the greatest sons of b**es I know,”

    True, because basically every mentally competent English speaker in the world knows that would be offensive to many in the congregation. If it were someone who was truly innocent in intent it would garner snickers, but not offense.

    God wants us to be kind and charitable. Selfishly using language that we know is hurtful or offensive to others around us is unkind and uncharitable and is thus a sin.

    I should note that one can offend with words and still do so charitably, like Christ called people to repentance. But there is a major difference between that and selfishly cussing up a storm around people who you know find such language offensive.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 13, 2006 @ 2:29 pm

  40. Your position, then, is that God expects us to obey social norms because the departure therefrom might be offensive to others and therefore uncharitable? That’s a pretty big stretch. Apparently my speeding to work this morning was also sinful because it had the possibility of offending someone.

    Comment by jimbob — February 14, 2006 @ 9:00 am

  41. No, my position is that God commands us to be kind and charitable. That manifests itself in all sorts of self-restraint I think — including being wary of the words we choose.

    And yes, kindness and charity are connected to social norms. Certain behaviors (or words) that might be offense, rude, and unkind in one culture may not be in another. Charity has to do with intentions and the knowledge of the implications of our actions. So while dropping f-bombs may not be a universal evil — doing so in my house when one knows my family finds it offensive would be unkind and uncharitable to me and my family.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 14, 2006 @ 11:48 am

  42. And how does one go about deciding which of these social norms get elevated to the status of “sin”? Surely any act or phrase is has the possibility to offend someone. Should we use the “most easily offended person” standard? Wouldn’t that be the most charitable?

    Comment by jimbob — February 14, 2006 @ 1:01 pm

  43. Well it certainly isn’t a simple binary proposition of sin/not-sin. As with most things in life there are nuances here. Charity seems to be mostly about motivations and intentions. Our scriptures tell us that we must have charity or we are nothing and that we must watch our thoughts, words, and deeds. So there this is much more nuanced than simply giving offense with words or not. Nephi clearly gave offense to his brothers when he called them to repentance? Was that sin? Probably not — especially if his words were purely motivated by the pure love of Christ. But in 2 Nephi 4 he laments his temper so who knows if there was some mix of charity and malice in his hard words to his brothers? Again, the issue boils down to kindness and charity — the thoughts words and deeds are the outgrowth of the deeper intentions and motivations. (Our cussing or not has something to do with the deeper question of self mastery I think.)

    Comment by Geoff J — February 14, 2006 @ 1:16 pm

  44. But then we come full circle, don’t we? Your argument, again, is that I can cuss as much as I want to so long as I honestly don’t think it will bother anyone. How sensitive must I be to other people’s sensitivities? What about words I don’t think should bother other people, but do anyway, like “crap” or “frick”? Is there an element of reasonableness in your multi-factor balancing test?

    Comment by jimbob — February 14, 2006 @ 1:27 pm

  45. Yes, that is my argument. But since you and I are a socially aware persons that means that you and I both ought to watch our words (like King Benjamin warned). So while you say “I can cuss as much as I want to” the question we should examine is our motivations for wanting to (even in private). Is it to vent rage? If so maybe the rage is the real problem — or perhaps a lack of self discipline, etc. Who knows — private cussing is a subject to be discussed between each person and God I suppose. We can ask him his opinion. I suspect he doesn’t appreciate me dropping f-bombs even in private though.

    You are right that there are shades and nuances with words though. There are times when a well placed “frick” or “crap” might be appropriate (or funny) and times when they are not.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 14, 2006 @ 1:55 pm

  46. “I suspect he doesn’t appreciate me dropping f-bombs even in private though.”

    I think you’ve created a non-sequitur in your first paragraph. If the sin in swearing is poor motivation (e.g., anger) or lack of respect for other’s feelings (i.e., charity), then so long as I’m not motivated by, e.g., anger or lack of charity, I can drop the f-bomb as often as I like without fear of disapprobation by the Lord, right? To be frank, it appears that you are essentially asserting that there are just some words that aren’t okay under any circumstances or motivations.

    And me as socially aware? It just occurred to me at noon today that it was Valentine’s day and that I should probably do something for my wife.

    Comment by jimbob — February 14, 2006 @ 5:05 pm

  47. No, you are assuming God would not approve of me dropping f-bombs because the word itself is evil or something. That is not what I meant. The fact is that I have been conditioned very clearly by my environment regarding that word. I know that in English it is vulgar and base. I pray in English though so I know that it is disrespectful to use such English words in my communications with the Almighty God and he understands that too. Again, it has to do with intentions. If I truly had no idea what the word meant and used it there would be no power in it. But since I do I cannot escape responsibility for using it and the implications that using it in English carry. Again — it is intentions and knowledge that make words count. I cannot escape my and knowledge of English — even in prayers.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 14, 2006 @ 6:32 pm

  48. I don’t think God gives a rubbish how we talk. It doesn’t affect Him, it affects us. On the other hand, a lot of pain can be inflicted without cussing. Words are pretty powerful. We’ve seen that here when we’ve hurt or offended one another.

    Joseph Smith said, AND I REPEAT: “I love that man better who swears a stream as long as my arm and deals justice to his neighbor than the long faced hypocrite.”

    That being said, I’m trying to clean up my own act. I think the time has come. For some strange reason. You know, I never cuss at work, so I must be able to control it. Oh, except when I said my first grade teacher (who my boss also had) was a mean old bitch. Well, she was. She beat me up all the time.

    Comment by annegb — February 14, 2006 @ 11:59 pm

  49. I’m with you Anne. That is sort what I’m arguing for — that it is not an issue of the words per se, but rather an issue of intentions and hurtfulness and charity or not.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 15, 2006 @ 12:27 am

  50. Geoff

    I agree with you completely, as I said earlier in this string, “The use of a euphemism to express a more vulgar comment in my thought is still swearing. I am not one of these people that gets upset everytime somebody swears, but if they are trying to sugarcoat an insult or a vulgar thought, by going to a gentler and supposably more acceptable word or phrase…”

    Comment by George — February 15, 2006 @ 11:57 am

  51. I guess this will be my last question, because I think we’ve kicked this dead horse enough. If the real problems are the anger or lack of charity, what difference does it make what the words are? This isn’t the same question I’ve asked above. I’m now asking if we are poorly motivated, haven’t we already sinned for allowing ourselves to feel and think angrily or by feeling a lack of charity? If so, isn’t the swearing simply a by-product of the sin and not really sinful per se? That is, aren’t we condemning the vomiting after the drunken night of decadence, rather than the drunken night of decadence? If so, why attack the vomiting? It’s a consequence of sin; not sin itself.

    Comment by jimbob — February 15, 2006 @ 2:21 pm

  52. George – Thanks. Good point.

    Jimbob – If so, isn’t the swearing simply a by-product of the sin and not really sinful per se?

    Well actions always follow thoughts. But, as an analogy, lusting after a person who is not your spouse and committing adultery are two different sins. The doing is worse than just the thinking, even though both are wrong. I think the same principle applies here (at a much smaller scale of course). That’s probably why we are commanded to watch our “thought, words, and deeds” — all three. Thoughts are the usually the first sin, but we still have the agency to stop there before we get to the words or the deeds. With sin we should not have an “in for a penny, in for a pound” attitude.

    Again, my primary point is that the words themselves are not magical. There is no word in English that will hold some special offensive power to, say, a Chinese person who doesn’t understand a work of English. But we can sin with our thoughts, and that can lead to sins with our words and our deeds.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 15, 2006 @ 2:35 pm

  53. Thanks for the dialogue, Geoff. I don’t think you and I are going to agree on this issue, but this is the best contrary articulation I’ve ever heard on it.

    My stake president is on record as saying that the only two sets of words that are swear words are of Deity and those describing procreation, as those are sacred things expressed in a vulgar manner. I thought that was interesting. Is he correct? Danged if I know.

    Comment by jimbob — February 16, 2006 @ 8:53 am

  54. Likewise, jimbob. It’s an interesting subject (plus we pushed Kristen’s post to 50+ comments!)

    Comment by Geoff J — February 16, 2006 @ 9:47 am

  55. Susan M:

    His favorite was the flip off gesture, which on the Young Ones was like a peace sign.

    That gesture, usually given by Vivian accompanied by an obligatory, “Pi$$ off!” is still one of my favorites because of the reputed history behind it. It’s origin is supposedly centuries-old, and is not steeped in the profane.

    Here’s the most succinct explanation I could find:

    During the Hundred Years War, between the English and the French, the French boasted that they would win at Agincourt, and cut off the first two fingers of the renowned English bowmen that they were going to take prisoner. Well, the English won, and the French prisoners were made to shuffle past the English bowmen who taunted them by waving their two fingers that had effectively won the battle.

    Comment by Polly — February 16, 2006 @ 2:46 pm

  56. Nice pull Polly. Thanks.

    Comment by Geoff J — February 16, 2006 @ 2:54 pm

  57. · 72% of men and 58% of women swear in public
    · Swearing takes up 13% of adult conversation
    · Spoke swore on Star Trek 4
    · One South Park episode used the same expletive 146 times

    The Swearing Festival celebrates it all! Warning: Bad words contained in this link.

    Comment by meems — February 16, 2006 @ 6:49 pm

  58. Wow meems. I think in the office I used to work swearing took up about 66% of the conversation.

    Comment by Kristen J — February 17, 2006 @ 11:53 am