Tag Archives: vulgarity

In Praise of Piss


I’m a connoisseur of rude and vulgar language.  I collect it, use it frequently, and occasionally dust off some of my truly one-of-a-kind pieces to lovingly share with the world.

Hey, everybody needs a hobby, right?

But I started thinking about the nature of obscenities the other day, and after considerable reflection, I just don’t get it.

Why do we designate certain words as “offensive”?

They’re just collections of syllables and sounds.  I mean, normal phonetic sounds.  I could understand it if there were swear words that included, say, fart sounds or something – those would be offensive.  But there aren’t any words like that.

Though now I’m feeling inspired…

Back to my point:  “Ay”; “ee”; “oo”; whatever; as long as you’re not including “pbphltttt” as a phonetic building block, they’re all pretty innocuous.  We use them in millions of different sequences, so why should certain combinations make people blush/titter/freeze you with a look of outrage?

I know, I’m zooming past the obvious.  It’s not the phonetic sound that offends, it’s the meaning behind it.  I see how someone with strong religious views might have a problem with exclamations they consider blasphemous, so I’ll leave that topic aside for now.

But what about our good old Anglo-Saxon four-letter words?  Shit, piss, fuck.  These babies have been around for a long time.  They’re short, simple words for perfectly natural body functions.

Why should “shit” be more offensive than “bowel movement”?  Seriously, the words “bowel movement” make me cringe.  And what about our other euphemisms?  Drop a log, pinch a loaf, take a dump – they all sound pretty vulgar.  By comparison, “shit” is quick and tidy.

Ditto “piss”.  What’s so doggone special about the word “urine” that makes it somehow less offensive?  It’s still the same stuff.  And I’m sure those folks with the surname “Uren” would prefer people to use the Anglo-Saxon alternative when referring to bodily functions.  I’ve never met anybody with the surname “Piss”.

Or take “pee”.  (No, I didn’t say “take a pee”.  Well, unless you need to.  In that case, fire away.  Though I’ve never really understood why we say “take” when we really mean “leave”, either.)  But digressions aside, why is it cute when little kids say “pee”, but everybody gasps if they say “piss”?  What’s so cute about “pee”?

Many talented folks have already outlined the versatility of “fuck” as verb, noun, adjective, adverb, interjection, and so on, so I won’t belabour that point.

But think about this:  “Somebody fucked up the copier” is instantly comprehended by virtually every English-speaking person on the planet.  We hear that, and we know we won’t be getting any copies of our document today.

But if we eliminate “fuck”?  Look out.  How about:  “Somebody had sexual intercourse with the copier”?

Bystanders flee screaming, faces contorted in horror.  Those with sensitive stomachs vomit into the nearest receptacle.  Scrub your hands, bleach your brain, stuff yourself into a haz-mat suit and never, ever make copies EVER AGAIN.

A simple F-bomb could have averted that entire disaster.

They’re all perfectly good words:  short, easy to spell, and universally understood.  And we’re not supposed to use them.

I just don’t get it.



Filed under Commentary, Humour

Oh, Balls!

The other day a conversation with a female friend turned into a roundabout discussion that began with fruit, took a rapid detour to testicles, and ended with dirty limericks.  I can’t name the friend without potentially embarrassing the innocent man whose mangoes we were discussing, but the guilty party knows who she is.  I’m pretty sure I can still hear her giggling.

Anyway, I started to wonder why limericks lend themselves so admirably to off-colour content.  Maybe it’s something about the rhyme structure.  You just never see an obscene sonnet or haiku.  (Though if you know any, feel free to enlighten me.)

Most of the limericks I know are so vile I only recite them in the wee hours of the morning at a keg party, after I’ve set my glass aside and begun to drink directly from the pitcher for the sake of efficiency.  The last time that happened was many years ago, and it’s unlikely to happen again anytime soon.

But I still consider it one of my finer achievements to make a dozen inebriated guys gag simultaneously and flee the area.  Abandoning the keg, no less.  That was some limerick.  Needless to say, I won’t be including it in this post.  I can’t afford to lose readers.

I have no idea why I retain dirty limericks on the tip of my brain for instant retrieval when I can’t remember useful information like my sister’s not-so-new-anymore phone number.  And maybe I should be concerned that I can recite three limericks about testicles without a moment’s thought.

Here are the ones that sprang immediately to mind:

There was a young man from Boston
Who drove around in an Austin.
There was room for his ass
And a gallon of gas,
But his balls hung out and he lost ‘em.

Or how about this one:

There was a young man from Devizes
Whose balls were of two different sizes.
One was so small
It was no ball at all,
But the other one won several prizes.


There was a young man from Madras
Whose balls were made out of brass.
He’d bang them together
To play stormy weather,
And lightning shot out of his ass.

Frankly, that last one never made much sense to me since I happen to know brass won’t create a spark no matter how much you bang it together, but whatever.  It makes a good rhyme.

Maybe dirty limericks are so popular because they’re easy to create (and let’s face it, a lot of people have dirty minds).  Since I happen to believe there’s always room for more bad poetry in the world, here’s my attempt:

There once was a woman from Cowtown
Whose crudity made strong men bow down.
Though they tried to harass her,
They couldn’t surpass her.
The Queen of Vulgarity’s now crown’d.

Anybody else have dirty limericks lurking top-of-mind?  Or, more shockingly, clean limericks?  Do share.

Or feel free to get creative and make up one of your own.  I dare you.


Filed under Humour