In our house, I am often asked by my youngest children, "Is _________ a bad word?" Or I'm often told by one that the other one said a bad word.
So what is a bad word? Of course there are the swear words that most would agree are bad words. But then there are the questionable words that some may consider bad words and others may not. Growing up, we had words like "jerk" and "dang" and phrases like "shut up" that were considered bad words, and if said, required that you drop a nickel in the naughty jar. I don't remember what ever happened to the money in the nickel jar, but I know there was money in it because I put some of it there.
My children will tell you that I still consider those to be bad words when said to one another. My definition of a bad word is something that is said to hurt someone else, or a word used as a substitute for a "real swear". But yet I still get asked if certain words are swears or bad words, and sometimes I think they ask me, already knowing the answer, but just wanting to say the bad word, knowing they won't be scolded if used in the context of questioning whether they should never say it again.
As I've grown from a nickel-depositing girl into a swear-defining mother, I have come across a few more bad words that should be added to the list of words I'd rather never hear.
The first is the C-word: CANCER which I define as an evil disease that inhabits the bodies of my loved ones and poisons them and threatens to take or does take them away from me.
ALCOHOL: when abused, this can transform very nice people into not so very nice people who do things without thinking of consequences, who say things that hurt other people, and who don't own up to responsibilities. Possible side effects are illness, cheating, lying and causing harm to yourself and others.
BILLS: Annoying things that come, without fail, every month asking you for money.
DEATH: The ending of a life here on earth; can happen at any time to good people, bad people, old people, young people. Leaves people grieving and missing the one who is no longer with them, causes tears and sadness and is often met with anger, questions and an overwhelming desire to ask "Why?"
DIVORCE: At least one person is always affected and hurt in a divorce, whether it is the person who never wanted the divorce or the children who lose out on seeing both their parents every day and have to split their time between 2 homes.
EXERCISE: This is something we should all do, in some form or another. Easier said than done, but necessary for good health. Some do this more than others, some enjoy it, some don't. Every time I whine to my doctor about how I eat better and less than I used to, but I'm still not happy with my weight, she suggests exercise. I try to argue that sit-ups make me nauseous, but she just laughs.
GROUNDING: This is a punishment that we parents sometimes assign to our children which means that they can't go anywhere or do anything. There are different degrees of grounding, i.e. taking away TV, taking away video games, taking away computer time, taking away phone privileges, and banning time with friends. For parents, grounding means having to referee fights between siblings who now have nothing else to do but bicker with each other, having to play board games for hours or do arts and crafts because "there's nothing to do in this house", and hence grounding should be considered a punishment for both parent and child.
HALF-DAYS: These are days when children get out of school early and force parents to have to make arrangements to either leave work or find childcare on days that they normally wouldn't. Sometimes these days creep up on you without warning, and you get calls from your friends at work asking what you are doing with your kids after school, and you realize that they are home alone.
MONDAY: A day that generally follows either a very enjoyable weekend or a very busy weekend and slaps you in the face with reality, usually very early in the morning.
WORK: Something adults are expected to do in order to make the money required to pay the bills. Side effects may include having to get up early, dress up, talk nice to people you don't really like and drive great distances to get to said place of work. May contribute to loss of sleep, poor housework, lame suppers, and irritability.
So, please try to avoid saying these bad words, but if they must be said, as so often they must, get your quarters ready for my jar, bringing me to another bad word - INFLATION, because nothing costs a nickel anymore.