Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Strong language

I am well aware that there are places where "strong language" is the norm, places - generally - where the workers are only men.  Of course, those places are becoming fewer and fewer but building sites and garage workshops are still, by and large, male-only milieus.  (Blogger insists that last words has an "s" in the plural.  I think it should be an "x".)  And the armed forces and police to a lesser extent.  It is those areas that the strongest language flourishes still, but that doesn't stop me getting annoyed when an author tries for complete verisimilitude be peppering every sentence uttered by a soldier or policeman with fxxx and other similar expressions.  I am pleased that it happens a lot less frequently on television - and there, at least, we are usually warned in advance, "This programme contains strong language".

Many years ago I worked for a bank and for several years I was at a small, country branch where there were only 7 or 8 employees.  The number two for some of the time was a tall, thinnish gentleman, very correct - not to say prim and proper.  I don't think I ever knew his first name - men were always called Mr So-and-so and women were always Miss or Mrs in those far off days - but he was known to the less respectful among as as Flash Thornton.  Although he was second in command, Flash still had to man a till whenever things got busy and every day while the only full-time cashier went to lunch.  My job was to post the ledgers (all done by hand and in ink, using dip pens) and, after this had been done, balance the day's work.  This always took place in the morning, the "morning after" as it was, and the balancing could prove more than a little difficult sometimes.  And there was no "near enough", everything had to be exactly right - to the penny.

One day I had been struggling for a couple of hours to find a small error.  I had just about gone over everything a second or even third time before I spotted it and, to use the vernacular, "got the sides right". 

"At last!" I cried as I threw down my pen.

By this time, Flash was manning his till and when he had finished serving the one and only customer in the bank, he turned to me and said, "Mr Slater, would you mind moderating your language".

"Why?" I asked,  "What have I said?"

Flash responded, "I distinctly heard you say, 'Blast'".


I went back to Stanmer Park again yesterday afternoon, that being about the only place where I can let Fern have a good run off the lead without getting smothered in mud.  Let me give you a bit more of a tour of the park and village.  This is one of the lodge cottages at the main entrance.  Its twin sits on the other side of the road.


joeh said...

I never once heard an adult relative or teacher use a "bad" word...my mom would occasionally say "Hell's Bells" or if she was real upset say, "Dammit to hell."

Otherwise "dang" was as bad as it got.

I can so relate to this story.
Blast it all!

The Broad said...

My husband's favourite expletive is 'Bloody ding-dong' -- I've no idea where that came from! Happy New Year to you!