Try not to be too shocked when I let you into a little journalism secret: newsrooms can be quite sweary places. A typical day at virtually every newspaper I’ve worked goes something like this: “Anyone got any decent stories? No? Better find some bleepity f-ing bleep stories then, you lazy bleep.”
Or: “Oh look, there’s a deadline looming and I haven’t a clue what to write – holy bleepity bleep!”
And far more often than anyone would like: “The page 10 story has collapsed and we’ve nothing else happening. Mother-bleeping F-bomb bleep!”
You get the picture.
I’m guessing it’s pretty much the same at any filthy factory, sweltering restaurant kitchen, stressed-out school staffroom and around the water cooler at every single soul-destroying call centre.
Swearing is nature’s way of helping grown-ups get through another horrific day at the office without having to resort to repeatedly punching someone several times in the face. And that’s fine, as long as no one around minds and it’s out of earshot of the public and young ears, then so bleeping what?
But sometimes – as Kim Sears has found – swearing in public has a habit of turning the air blue just where some of us don’t particularly want it. She let rip at the Australian Open the other day and to be fair I’d be muttering f-bombs too if I thought my other half might come home in a foul mood, kick the cat then disappear in a huff for the next fortnight.
Some found her outburst amusing. Others – the ones who have taken their children to a sporting event only to find themselves sitting next to Chubby Brown’s even fouler-mouthed cousin – inwardly sighed.
For parents like me who face a daily battle against the flood of swearing that enters our home – from television f-bombs to gutter-mouthed celebs with songs that consist of slang names for sex organs being repeatedly chanted, to geeky YouTube videobloggers who share their use of Anglo Saxon phrases with their zillion 11-year-old fans – swearing is the house guest who doesn’t know when to sod off home.
Outside swearing comes at us from all directions, to the point where it is no longer shocking to hear Asda bakery shop staff shouting the f word over the bloomers – as happened at my local store last week.
Swearing, in the right place and the right time, is a wonderful, cathartic, stress-busting tool – I know, I do it lots.
As for letting rip everywhere else – school gates, bakery counter, sports events – well, excuse my language, but could you all just shut the bleep up.