Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Substitution of Words

I've decided to cut back on my cursing. My language has been described as unlady-like at best and drunken sailor-like at worst. A few days ago it reached an all time low when I had to change the word sh!t to shhtuff in front of Advisor when I was explaining how a protocol worked (as in you vortex this stuff a lot). Since then I've started substituting various other words for curse/swear words. This includes the following (I've attached explanations to those that Labmate has questioned):

"Son of a biscuit-eater" In high school someone thought that m-f-er sounded like biscuit-eater and it's just kind of stuck with me.
"Jiminy Christmas"
"Bloody frigging junk" This guy in middle school, who I had a crush on, was from England and used the word 'bloody' a lot (it all seemed very daring at the time). So, to assure him of the violence of my affections, I mocked him with it. And now it's part of my vocabulary.
"Oh go perform some anatomical near impossibility."
"You know, you can put that... in a meadow filled with pixie dust."
"It's all great. I'm just pooping rainbows over here." Oh, how I hate long days, incompetent people, and meetings.

Suggestions that Labmate and various other people have suggested:
"Temple and Arch!" Grad student from other lab suggested this. He's a Neil Gaiman fan.
"There's a special place in the Bush Administration for you for people like you." Contributed by Advisor
"I prefer to do thinks donkey, rather than mule style." Labmates suggested when I was looking for a way to say that 'I prefer not to do things half-assed.'

There are some other suggestions, but these are the ones that made me smile. We'll see if these actually improve my language at all.


post-doc said...

Too darling for words.

Brigindo said...

"It's all great. I'm just pooping rainbows over here."

This is my favorite. Do you mind if I borrow it?

Jenn said...

"Donkey rather than Mule style" cracked me up. A new fav for sure :)

Academic said...

"Fudge" is one of my favorite G-rated substitutions.

CAE said...


Be careful though, a friend of mine started to cut down on her swearing by using the very mild "oh pants" (that's British pants, as in undies, not trousers). She is now, and forever will be, known as Dr Pants.

EcoGeoFemme said...

You come across so cute in your blog that I can't imagine your swearing being offensive, just cute. :) Still, I like pooping rainbows!

Mad Hatter said...

I'm pretty foul-mouthed too. I blame my husband! :-) I've used swear words in front of my boss...he doesn't even react. Those "alternatives" are pretty funny, but is it the actual words spoken or the intent that counts?

ScienceGirl said...

Ha! It'd be funny to watch you actually use those in a conversation :)

I swear quite a bit too, but I am not worried about it in the lab as even advisor seems unable to skip them every now and then. Being around in-laws is another story though... Hubby is not as bad as me to begin with (gasp! I know!), plus he can just turn it off?!? Not sure I can learn his trick, so I just may be borrowing the pooping rainbows :)

hypoglycemiagirl said...

I'm going to use the one from your advisor, it's applicable for a few more months!

You're not quitting cursing completely off you? I like ladies using sailor language.

Schwa said...

Inspiring post! I really need to make some adjustments to my cursing vocal too. Or better yet, eliminate it... highly unlikely I'm afraid!

So my primary example of substitution is using the word "booger" instead of "bugger". I feel PC guilt saying bugger, though I say it all the time and apparently it's pretty tame on the cursing scale here in the UK.

I have some colleagues who are ESL, and I worry that my example might not be so great for them. I need a swear jar I think. Uggg!

Mary said...

This becomes even more of an issue when children come along! I've found that "Rats!" is a good substitute for those many many times when "Sh-t" seems appropriate.

Bayman said...

I'm surprised your boss doesn't like swearing. That seems unusual in this line of work.

Amanda said...

It has taken me way too long to comment. So, here it goes in one long post!

post-doc: Thanks... my lab has found it amusing.
Brigindo: Borrow away.
Jenn: Yeah, I think I laughed for a solid ten minutes when Labmate suggested that.
Academic: I'll try that one... however, it makes me hungry just thinking about it.
CAE: Maybe, someday, god-willing I will be known as Dr. Pooping Rainbows.
EGF: I don't know if I'm offensive (but thanks for the compliment), but it does get a bit embarrassing since I can't turn it off.
Mad Hatter: Advisor doesn't mind, but it's still not quite the image I want to put forward. I don't know if the intent or the words count more. However, as I tend to direct my swear words towards my experiments I don't think that their feelings get hurt. :-)
SG: I can't turn it off either! It's bad if I'm in the company of minors... there's a lot of me thinking before I speak.
Hypoglycemia Girl: Definitely not all swearing. Just the swearing that occurs in the lab setting. Since I'm denying myself of swearing in the lab, I'm finding that I swear more outside of it. It's been sort-of like binge dieting.
Schwa: I don't have quite enough discipline for a swear jar. Besides maybe your friends from ESL are learning an important language lesson ;-)
Mary: Yeah, kids. It's always fun to realize that I just used a bad word in front of my friend's three year old.
Bayman: Advisor doesn't mind swearing. In fact he does so himself. I just don't feel that referring to my work as the "sh-t I have to do" is all that professional.

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