“You absolute ****ing ****er!! Are you ****ing blind?? Get off your ****ing phone!!” etc etc.
I’m not much of a swearer, honest, except behind the wheel when other drivers’ sheer stupidity never fails to irk me.
Sometimes, the patronising slow headshake is enough. Other times, my ire needs a verbal outlet and I find a profanity or seven leaving my lips. This is unladylike, achieves nothing and would thoroughly disappoint my lovely mum. I need to recondition my peeved-off brain.
This change of approach has mainly come about because my small smiley boy’s ears are now directly connected to his mouth. What I say, he tries to say. Ideally, I’d prefer him not to drop the f-bomb before his third birthday.
So I’m on the hunt for a more polite road rage go-to word.
So far, I’ve test-driven plonker, idiot, moron and muppet. No ****s needed.
None of them have the satisfying onomatopoeic oomph of my favourite naughty word which begins with “w”, so I’m trying to decide which one will help lower my blood pressure the quickest. And which one I won’t mind a two-year-old repeating.
As they all have the same definition – “a stupid, foolish person” – it boils down to which one has the right balance of grown-up impact and toddler suitability.
Plonker feels too affectionate. I call my small smiley boy a plonker most days. It’s a word he’s used to hearing and doesn’t come naturally to me when I’m angry. Delete off the list.
Idiot? Hmmm, this feels like the kind of insult a threenager would hurl at a parent if they presented them with a piece of toast without the crusts cut off.
For a month or two, moron began to naturally spring from my lips. It suited its purpose well, I can say it with a good, frustration-reducing groan. Then I imagined small smiley boy calling one of his little friends a moron …
Which leaves muppet. I love The Muppets, especially the Swedish Chef, and am a little uncomfortable connecting their daft furry faces with a replacement expletive. But it somehow works. It explodes off the tongue in a satisfying manner, it is descriptive without being vulgar and it’s a word I definitely don’t mind the small smiley boy saying.
Luckily, I work from home so don’t have to endure a daily commute and therefore a daily challenge not to eff and blind my socks off. In my previous business, I used to drive 60 miles a day around Manchester while never getting more than ten miles away from home. No, I wasn’t a taxi driver or pizza delivery girl.
It was one of a couple of reasons why I decided to switch careers. There’s a creeping feeling out on the crazy roads of this city that some people are ready to implode with the sheer frustration of driving. I imagine if every car was fitted with a megaphone, the air would be constantly blue.
But my efforts to protect my son from such vulgarity may all be futile. I suspect in a couple of years’ time, he’ll be calling everyone poohead, fartybum or stinkypants. Maybe I could use one of those instead?
Does muppet cut it for you? What swear word substitutes do you like?