Friday, July 3, 2009


My mother's favorite word was "shit" - as in, "Shit, I just dripped mustard on my blouse." or "Shit, the dog threw up again." My father disclosed this surprising tidbit to me one day when I became middle-aged. It's funny the things we learn about family when we become adults. My mother would have never used the shit word in front of the children - in fact she never shared the not-so-nice words and happenings in the family with her only daughter. My favorite expletive as a teenager was "crap" - as in "Crap, my hair looks awful." or "Crap, I can't find my keys." My mother hated it when I said crap, and admonished me with a stern "Barbara!" Crap is a word used for simple adolescent inconveniences and just doesn't have the same emphasis that shit does. Crap is too quick, hard, dried up. Shit, on the other hand, kind of rolls off your tongue and you can daw it out for emphasis, like shiiiiiiiit. You can even make it a two-syllable word, like "shee-iit." Shit is the graduate word for crap. It is fresh, to the point, and saying it makes you feel better, no matter what the problem is. Then there are the phrases "holy crap" and "holy shit." Both have a bigger bang to them. "Holy" is sacred - it's righteous, and is used when there is a need to emphasize a revered situation. When used with crap, the phrase emulates a feeling of astonishment, amazement - such as "Holy crap, do you mean she ran the entire 26-mile marathon?" or "Holy crap, I can't believe my cell phone charges are that much." On the other hand, "holy shit" is used when something is to be sanctified or blessed. It stirs up a steamy freshness in our emotions; for example, "Holy shit, Rachael on 'Days of Our Lives' just died!" or "Holy shit, there was another plane crash!" My daughter recently said to her mother, "Holy shit, Michael Jackson just died!" Choose your expletives well.

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