Many moons ago, the editor of one of my on-line parenting communities (i.e. an addictive little pocket of people on the Net who collectively served as my personal sanity cocktail from dawn until dusk) posed an interesting question: What was my favorite curse word substitute? In brief, she wanted to know what sort of word or words I regularly use in place of the filth that I should be ashamed to admit I even know—let alone use on occasion.
Lo and behold, the topic proved highly popular among a gamut of contributors who then generated a strangely magnificent slew of cuss words, clearly and cleverly Mister Rogers-ized for the benefit of all. In fact, it could be reasonably estimated that great masses—herds actually—of moms and dads rushed to submit their entries, wearing their little fingers to the bone in the process, no doubt. Maybe it was cathartic for them. Like confessing to skipping pages in some of those dreadfully boring bedtime favorites or to having served the kidlets a less-than-wholesome snack after school more than once. Egads! Who knows, maybe it just plain felt good to come clean in a public venue—to divulge the truth about our despicable “potty mouths” once and for all. I know I felt better having shared.
As I scanned the ever-growing list of unmentionable verbiage, I was pleasantly surprised to be doused with the warmth of camaraderie that positively flourished among our motley crew. We were kindred spirits after all—parents whose buttons were routinely pushed—driven to let fly horrible (yet somehow remarkable) strings of things we should never say in the presence of our impressionable youth. Cursing that infamous blue streak, as it were (albeit, a kinder gentler blue streak). Of course, I took note of curious terms that apparently flowed like lemonade within other households—especially those nifty little nuggets of speech I had never before envisioned using in place of the real deal. Naturally, they have since been added to my inventory of things-I-can-bellow-with-wild-abandon—even in front of the kids.
Needless to say, I shared my choice phrase with the best of them, eagerly offering up the whys and wherefores of my patented utterance, “Son-of-a-buffalo!” Many agreed it was classic and had stood the test of time. It was also practical, in that it was juuuuust lengthy enough to allow for reprogramming in mid-tirade—that magical window of time during which gears shift in the language factory, the brain catches up with the lips and whatever sinful blurb that was going to be produced gets transformed into something far more G-rated. Unfortunately, I haven’t been as successful with those gloriously liberating mono-syllabic expressions—the ones that resonate with satisfaction and consummate relief. Thankfully, such instances of use are rare and I’ve had enough sense to shove a pillow over my mouth so that at best, that-which-I-shouldn’t-have-said is garbled. My theory: A muffled expletive is better than one that will be articulated perfectly at Show & Tell.
My “Son-of-a-buffalo!” submission was also thought to possess a certain element of fun. Yes, fun. It rolls off the tongue easily and naturally—almost as easily and naturally as its prototype. Almost. It’s fun for the kids, too. And by that I mean those goofy children of mine believe that said snippet is perhaps the most hilarious phrase ever spoken. Bar none. Shortly after it leaves my lips, they pummel me to death with all sorts of unanswerables. Like: “What does a son of a buffalo look like, Mom?” “How old is he?” “What’s his real name?” “Does the mom buffalo have any daughters?” I also get a lot of, “Say it again, Mom! Again! Again! And again! That’s SO completely funny!”
Good grief. Maybe I’d be better off going out with my cronies or my husband (as Crazed Parent) suggested, so that I might get that pent up vat of profanity out of my system periodically. It’s certainly worth a try. Naturally, someone would then order Buffalo wings and we’d have to cackle about the irony in that.
Planet Mom: It’s where I live.
Copyright 2007 Melinda L. Wentzel
43 responses to “A Kinder, Gentler Blue Streak”
I stole my word from my mother: God Bless America!
I don’t know why it works so well with me, as I really dislike GDit. But, it works! That and lately I’ve been ‘using’ other words in abbreviation: what the h, fffffffffff! It sounds silly enough that I usually lighten up some!
Yep. There’s nothing quite like appearing to be a buffoon to lighten the mood. I once broke my hand in a fit of rage while punching a solid slab of walnut and promptly fell to the floor writhing stupidly in pain. My charges, who had witnessed the entire thing, found this utterly hilarious. Eventually, I did, too. 😉
I find that when the kids are acting up and I feel that oh so familiar feeling come over me where a bad word is going to come out, whether I like it or not, I will say the whole sentence, but just be completely silent when the swear would come in(eg. “Tevye, for the last time, get off the ____ couch already!”). I say it in my head, and I’ve found this works fairly well.
Other times, I’ll go and swear like a sailor at the cat when the kids aren’t in the room. I also find this helps.
Cussing out the cat. I love it, although I think my cat is “smarter than a fifth grader,” so it would be disturbing to me to think I might cause irreparable damage. Then again, the idea has merit. 😉
I’m a fan of freakin’….not too original but it’s definitely come back to haunt me, like when my daughter was procrastinating going to bed and announced that she had a boo-boo, and I told her, “Get to bed!” and she said, “What, you’re not going to do anything about my freakin’ boo-boo?!”
OMFG, I nearly spit out my teeth when I read that one! How could you possibly contain your amusement?! And secondly, did you, in fact, kiss the freakin’ boo-boo? 😉
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I learned some great ones from my husband: “Got down and sat on a bench!” “Cheese ‘n rice!” and “Muddy flicker!”
I personally end up yelling out “Good Lord!” or “Hells bells!” which gets me in trouble at my very Catholic workplace. I need to start using replacements there…
Son of a buffalo is genious! :o)
“Genious”??? Can I quote you on that? 😉
I’ve taken to saying smot a lot lately.
Monosyllabic utterances are inordinately (and perhaps, innately) satisfying, methinks. “Smot.” I like it. 😉
I like “son of a buffalo”. “shhhhuger plum fairy” is also a good substitute for sh*t.
SO cute and true! My favorite of my grandmother’s was “Shhhhhugar.”
Lovely, lovely blog! Its good to see this word substitution passed down from generation to generation! Long may our inventiveness continue!
Several years ago, when I had been a member of a rotisserie football league for many years — one that communicated primarily online — one of our number expressed the concern that some of our communications were a little too blue. I think this concern was only half-serious, but the self-appointed author of the league’s weekly newsletter took it upon himself to craft a fine essay, which I wish I had saved, proposing that henceforth we all make our new F-bomb “firetruck” and its variants.
So we did. And I have to say some of the results were pretty firetrucking hilarious.
“…pretty firetrucking hilarious.” Too funny. I shall add it to my repertoire this instant. 😉
Funny post. I’ve heard most of these before and I particularly like son-of-a-buffalo, but I don’t use any of these too regularly. Usually it’s, crap or poop.
If I’m referring to my son, I just call him a bratt, which he is and he knows it! 🙂
Son of a Buffalo – I like it and will use it from now on.
But I know the response will be: So, that means you’re a Buffalo, right?
Especially as I use that approach when one of my children calls the other something – So that means you’re brother/sister of stupid?
I always say shi-take mushrooms
and ohhh mama mama mia!
Through gritted teeth it really gives me some satisfaction.
I like Son of a Buffalo. I’ll have to incorporate that one into my vocabulary.
Nice blog. Amusing topic. Refreshing candor.
“Shicken Chit.” That’s classic. And classics never go out of style. 🙂
Like Run DMT, I just swear or I allow silence to fill in the word I want to use. Son of a ****** usually allows the husband enough warning to leave the room before he is truly chopped liver.
My friend’s mother always said “son of a bit my finger, got dandruff in my hair”. I, of course, knew what she really meant & thought it was hysterical.
I think it is funny that one set of sounds is forbidden & another is ok. How is it that “freakin” has become such an acceptable substitute for the “f-bomb” that it is even used in commercials?
Well said. I once wrote a scathing letter-to-the-editor about the use of “Fricken-A!” in a local newspaper HEADLINE, of all places. “The neeeerve!” as Edith Bunker would chide. 😉
Loved it. No kids as yet, but looking forward to having some. Will make sure I lock away “Son of a Buffalo” in my swear replacement folder up top! *wink* Funny stuff.
“Swear Replacement Folder…” Love it!
Son of a beach ball is my usual substitute. If that won’t do the trick I start swearing in french. Spanish is out thanks to Dora the Explorer.
Ha! My husband often mentions that the only Spanish he knows is completely lewd, having worked in a factory during his impressionable youth. Guess we won’t be capable of asking directions if ever we visit Mexico. 😉
Shamefully, I swear like a sailor. I just can’t get the same pleasure out of “fudge” or “frick” like I can dropping the f-bomb. I tell my kids they can cuss when they can vote, because politicians will give them a good enough reason to throw around the swear words.
Son-of-a-buffalo is a new one to me. My roommate’s favorite expletive is son-of-a-biscuit. Use of this usually leads to one of us shouting “cupcake!” or “croissant!”
My grandfather (90 y/o) has always said “cripes.” It stuck and hubby makes fun of me when I use it. 🙂
“Cripes!” An oldie but a goodie! 🙂
Although I am a firm believer in swear words, I have taken a liking to ‘good night!’ (i blame bog love).
I like the term “scheisse” which is german.
ours is ‘PINCH!’ our son started saying it one day when he was frustrated, so we took it as our own, as in ‘Oh, PINnnCH!’ we dont know where it stemmed from, but does save our little ones’ ears from some less appropriate language.
Actually, I think I like Karen’s fu-dgesickle substitute. Come to think of it, a fudgesickle does sound good.
Sometimes, I just have to go out to the car, make sure all the windows are rolled up and let ‘er rip. You’ll feel better, promise.
This, my dear, is unadulterated brilliance. Perhaps I will give it a go in the very near future. Thanx!
Son of a Buffalo is a very good substitute. In fact, I think I may start using it…that is…unless you have copyrighted it. Usually I go with, “Oh Fudge-cookies and milk sound good right now.” Well, if I can substitute fudge quickly enough.
Nope. No copyright on Son-of-a-buffalo to date. Use it to your little heart’s content. 🙂
Love it! I usually utter something like … fu-dgesickle or sh-ugar or cra-ckers.