anecdotes / humor / Uncategorized

The Swear Jar


 Swearing wasn’t just taboo in my home, it was also a great money-making opportunity! I’ve mentioned that I come from a long line of entrepreneurs, and I think this might be what lit that fire in me.

My dad had a potty mouth that rivaled the string of smut that flowed from the dad in “A Christmas Story”  and Chevy Chase in “Christmas Vacation”. 

Not only was my father a true potty-poet, but he also happened to be raising three young, impressionable girls with a wife who’d blush if someone said fart instead of toot. Naturally the Swear Jar was introduced as an incentive to get him to curb his profanity.

Let the games begin!

At first it started with a quarter per curse word, but my dad  loved to let off steam more than he valued 25 measly cents. Before we knew it, the ante was upped to 75 cents for minor swears, and $1 for the F-bomb! Shit was getting real, and his girls were in it to win it. In traffic one girl would say “Did you SEE that? That guy just cut you off!” Wait for it, wait for it.  “Learn to drive asshole!” Yes! Jar! We’d never shown interest in his home repairs before, but suddenly, eager eyes surrounded him if he had to hammer a nail. “Ooh, he just hammered his thumb instead of the nail,this is gonna be a triple pointer!”  And it was. Jar! 

We’d pinned our hopes on a vacation to Hawaii, but dad got wise to our scheming before the tickets could be purchased. I got a few Barbies out of the deal, and my sisters were able to purchase some “rad” acid-washed jeans or something totally 80’s like them. 




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My family wasn’t a “monopoly” kind of family. We didn’t do game night, and we only ate at the dinner table on holidays. The tie that binds us is a sense of humor, even if that humor is sometimes off-colored. That Swear Jar created a bond just when my family needed it the most.New state, new house, new school. F**** it all!  We all felt like cursing,but our dad did it for us. He would swear,and Mama would cringe and say “Oh, Don!”

This post was inspired by Phil, who’d managed to make it 17 years before his son heard him curse. It’s a really effin’ funny post!

How about you? Do you curse in front of your children? Have you or do you now, use a swear jar? I’m not a mom, so I swear at will, but I’m trying to curtail it so that I don’t always sound like an ignorant asshole. My sister is a mother to three,and she’ll never live down the time she said “That’s pretty bad-A.” Really, Laura? You had to edit the the ass in bad-ass?  It’s been five years, but because it was so funny, Derek and I have opted to say Bad-A, instead of bad-ass since then. It’s just more fun that way.

23 thoughts on “The Swear Jar

  1. That was one bad A post Kim! One of the fecking best I’ve ever read, especially that part where you linked to my blog! Loved the 80’s references. Thanks for the shout out! You’re the shit!

  2. The family who curses together stays together??
    I try not to swear in front of my kids. My husband, on the other hand, can not help himself so it seems like whatever efforts I make are just in vain. Anyway, when I’m in the car, all bets are off.

  3. OMG…. avoided it successfully until my kids started to use “less nice” words they brought home from kindergarten. Once they used it I automatically fell into it too. But of course, there still are words I don’t want to hear my kids saying and which I don’t say! Great post, Kim!

    • I’d imagine it would be somewhat traumatic for a mother to hear her “babies” say something foul. I remember the only time I said the “f” word in front of my mother. I was 10, and I was trying to tell my sister that’d we’d eaten at the restaurant Fuddruckers, but I mixed the words up! It was an honest mistake, but my mother and I both turned bright red.😊

  4. I’m not a mom and may swear under my breath occasionally but never at people. I was raised in a very conservative household, but my grandmother swore a lot. Even so, I was really uptight. Until someone told me to let it out. For me penalising anyone for saying certain words is the same as saying, “This word is bad only in front of me.” This may prevent swearing out loud but the overflow will go somewhere. People can think one way and say something different.

    There’s a huge divide between encouraging open expression and editing a person. A friend would scold me when I used the word “people” instead of “individuals”. This conversational shorthand offends her. And she penalises me by interrupting me to correct my word use. In practice, I respectfully refuse to hang out with someone who edits me.

    Words do not go away; they stay hidden for use in a different context unless the person is convinced that adjusting their vocabulary might be in their best interest.

    • That’s an interesting take on the subject. Editing aside, I wouldn’t be able to remain friends with someone who was constantly interrupting me. That “individual” might find something being said offensive, but there are few things more disrespectful than cutting someone off mid-sentence. That makes the statement that they don’t value in ANYTHING being said.
      Thanks for your comment.

  5. Hahahaha Kim. No swear jar here or I’d be in debt 🙂
    I swear in front of my kids but tell them that they shouldn’t copy me because nobody was going to tell me anything but they could get in trouble at school.
    They learned swearing from me but they have the choice to use a better vocabulary if they want to, right? 😀

  6. I’ve taught my kids that there are grown up words that kids shouldn’t use until they become adults, but even then, they should use them with discretion and feeling. I swear, daily. But I don’t use profanity indiscriminately. Sometimes only a swear word will do in order to express what you’re really feeling! I edit myself a lot in front of my kids, but if I slip up I will say, “you are not allowed to say that word!” They laugh at me. We have also edited our swear words. My husband and I will use the initials BA for bad-ass. LOL! Like, that is so BA! 😉

    • That’s so BA! I think as long as children are raised to respect others and to be decent people, a few swear slip ups aren’t going to permanently damage them.

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