July 16, 2009

I swear, it’s true

Capt. Haddock made it count.So, a new “research” study reveals that profanity can be good for you. Apparently, it helps to ease pain. This is welcome news for the pipe band world, which I’m sure previously thought that swearing was debilitating to band morale and the pipe-major’s health. It’s welcome information that the pain of a badly blown D can be relieved by a choice cuss.

I must confess, I quite like swearing. But, like everything, try to do it in moderation. A good oath blurted out at the right time can really emphasize a message. I don’t think I know any adults who never swear, but I know many who rarely let out a good curse-word and, when they do, you know they really mean it. They make it count.

And then there are those who swear all the time. Cursing is part of their everyday language and just about every sentence includes sharp Fs and Cs. You end up not even hearing it, and after a while you realize that they have an affliction and you start making fun of them behind their back. If the good people at Guinness gave such an award, I’m sure one or two very famous pipers might have the world record for the highest percentage of swear-words in normal conversation.

There’s a lot of swearing in pipe bands. Since kids generally join bands that include mostly adults, they are indoctrinated to the wonderful world of cussing at an early age. Like good blowing and solid attacks, swearing is a learned skill in pipe bands, passed from generation to generation.

But I remember that even before I joined my first pipe band at the age of 12 I was already swearing like Captain Haddock. I can only imagine that the language of tweens is at least as filthy now as it was in the 1970s, so most kids joining the pipe band universe won’t be shocked. And if their parents are alarmed, they should f&*#ing chill.

There was a recent story about a piping teacher who was dismissed from the school system that he taught at for many years because he allegedly exploded with a bit of profanity in the presence of a young student. While piping and drumming teachers would be wise to rein in the invective, I can’t help think that, gosh darn it, it’s all part of good training for a life in piping and drumming.

Besides, it’s damned good for you.


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