Non-swear swearing, or, how I farkle and shazam myself into laughter

Not so long ago, I decided to stop swearing. Not that I was the type to curse like a sailor on shore leave — in fact, a friend once told me that I sounded like a librarian when I was upset (which, cover mouthknowing a few librarians, is actually a great compliment). So I wasn’t whirling up a shit storm of swears in my daily life, but, when no one was around, I was not above the occasional F-bomb. Still, it got the point where I was worried that I’d let something slip in front of the kids, something harder than the occasional “crap” or even a “damn it” that was already leaking out.

So I decided to stop.

Or, at least, alter my language. Instead of the usual expletives, however mild, I started saying “Shazam!” and “Shenanigans!” The thing is, when you really need to curse, what you really need to do is say something loud and fast and BIG to release the intensity of what you’re feeling at the moment, whether it’s because you stubbed your toe or closed the car door on your finger or remembered that you were supposed to be at a parent-teacher conference 15 minutes ago. I mean, there are certain occasions when you just need to shout at the sky, “WELL, FUCK!”

shazamSince that’s not always appropriate, substituting a SHAZAM works just as well. You get the benefit of the big release that comes with yelling, and it’s bound to make you giggle a little. I mean, at the very least, the goofiness of the word causes some priceless reactions by the people around you. SHAZAM makes you laugh. SHAZAM diffuses the pain or the frustration because SHAZAM is just silly, and how can you be truly pissed off or wounded when you’re being silly? SHAZAM turns you into a comic book hero who can tackle anything, including the disaster of dropping an armload of freshly washed glasses onto the wood floor while trying to unload the dishwasher.


The other day, Cooper found a new game in his Christmas stocking at Muggy and Pop’s, a dice game called “Farkle.” We played yesterday and all agreed that FARKLE would be an excellent thing to say if you’re upset.

  • (dropping the freshly trimmed beef into the garbage can) WELL, FARKLE!
  • (getting an email about an overdue bill) HOLY FARKLE!
  • (when kids don’t listen) WOULD YOU FARKLE-ING DO WHAT I ASK YOU TO DO?

Do you have a favorite non-curse curse word? I’m on the lookout for some new things to mutter or shout when things go amiss.

And if you don’t, give SHAZAM or FARKLE a try. I guarantee results.

  • (when someone totally steals the cab you just hailed) FARKLE YOU!
  • (after your boss has just laid you off) That is total SHAZAM!

Seriously. Try it! Why the Farkle not?