Swedes have no problem cussing. At all. In any language. Well in Swedish or English at least. Maybe they have no problem in other languages I just don’t understand them. But it bothers me a little bit. Not because I never swear, because I’ll be damned if I don’t. But because they use the English words as if they are no big deal.
Most Swedish cuss words are hell or devil based. They call to the devil, refer to the devil or satan, that sort of thing. Not very creative and actually quite interesting considering the lack of religious conviction most people show in this country. Old habits are hard to break I suppose and so you get stuck with antiquated cuss words that don't really relate. So they turn to the wide array of English cuss words.
Little kids throw out “shit” and “fuck” all of the time. Like third grade little kids. I wouldn’t have even dreamed of using that sort of language at that age. Maybe by fifth grade I might have tried it on for size, but only because one of my best friends had an older brother and clearly he was a bad influence on our young impressionable minds. Or because as we sat in their basement playing Nintendo we just drove the poor guy nuts. Either way, I’m pretty sure that’s the way it works. You learn from the older brothers.
Which is fine. But cuss words didn’t really become a part of my usable vocabulary for a few more years. But here it is everywhere. A lot of this has to do with TV. People swear all of the time. Swedish TV personalities say shit all the time in both good and bad terms. In the US shit is one of those off limit TV words. You can get away with it on HBO but it’s not a huge population that gets HBO, and so we live in a world where swearing is reserved for special moments. Like when you burn your hand on the frying pan, or when you realize that you’re going to spin out on I-25 on Christmas Eve, or when you realize you forgot your subway pass at your apartment and all of a sudden you need to run if you’re going to get to Stockholm on time.
Shit is not to be used by eight year olds when they see a cool toy as in, “Shit vad coolt,” shit is not supposed to be used by eight year olds when they realize that their favorite cartoon as been cancelled as in, “Shit vad synd.” I think you see where I’m going with this. If I had been using this language my mouth would have been filled with soap suds, instead these kids are validated by their parents using the same language. Bullshit I say. See what I did there? Cute huh?
Every time I hear it I snap my head around because that little kid voice shouldn’t be using that language. I’ve decided that this is not because I’m getting old. I’ve decided it is completely my being raised in America. Granted the rules for what is acceptable on American TV can be a bit ridiculous sometimes, but still, some things just don’t really need to be heard on a regular basis. Granted, a swear word here and there can spice things up a bit in conversation, galvanize the troops, bring people together, show people you have a rebel side or something like that, but too much and you kind of sound like an idiot.
Of course, it’s a bit different here, where cussing is woven into the social fabric that is conversation. Maybe it’s because of this that English cuss words are overused, or maybe it’s because the words are in English. They lose their power when not spoken by someone who has a mother tongue command of the language. Or maybe English is just taking over the world one swearword at a time. Either way, I’m tired of listening to little Swedish kids cuss in English. Next time I hear it I’m going to turn to the little kid, and in my beautiful Colorado American accent say “Shut the fuck up, you’re too damn young to use that sort of language. Bitch.” That’ll teach them.