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  Texas : Features : Columns : "It's All Trew"

Some cuss words
aren't really cuss words

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew
I suspect the commandment about not taking the Lord's name in vain has kept a lot of good people out of heaven, especially those who own livestock or who work with worn-out farm machinery.

I doubt the Lord himself could load hogs or operate a hay baler without losing his temper.

Through history we read of the teamster who could singe the hair on his mule's ears with profanity and the prevaricator who could cuss like a sailor.

I can still taste the lye soap Grandma Trew used to wash my mouth after I uttered my first cuss word in her presence. Though her remedy was more effective than a month of sermons, it would be judged as cruel and unusual punishment by today's standards and bring about a lawsuit.

That could be the reason Grandpa Trew's worst words were "my goodness."

Grandma Trew's father was a fire and brimstone Baptist preacher, and she went so far as to replace the word hell with heck. When we had a family musical jam session, she requested her favorite fiddle breakdown of "Heck Amongst the Yearlings" and held a straight face.

Many of us nearly perfect Christians have developed a byword glossary to replace customary cussing. The words darn, derned, blessed, and dad-gummed give relief but do not draw lightning strikes.

Uncle Atlas Flowers said "by-nab" and "dag-nabit" when he lost his temper. Brett Hathaway said "I swan" when he skinned a knuckle. An aunt always said "horse-feathers and flim-flam" instead of cursing.

Even the more devout are guilty of saying bad words when surprised. My wife Ruth never uses bad language until she nearly steps on a snake in our yard. Her usual exclamations are loud, expressed at the height of her leap, and are embarrassing to the snake and to me.

A sermon from my past preached the degree of sin is based on what is in your mind and heart more than in the words you actually say. If this is true, there may be a lot of room left in heaven. The best we can hope is that the final judge has a broad mind and a sense of humor. I can't believe I'll burn in heck for saying, "Dag-nabit, that's a bunch of horse feathers."


Delbert Trew

"It's All Trew" - April 5, 2005 column
 
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