"Under certain circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer." — Mark Twain
S ometimes it’s the little things you don’t notice that seem to be suspiciously profound. Take, for instance, my dad’s deteriorating ability to speak. He’s gotten to the point where, more often than not, he can get out a pronoun, a verb, and sometimes even a direct object before the skill of coherent speech is shut down. It really annoys him, and he tends to make faces, swears, and basically behaves childishly.
Here’s the key to profound realization: "He swears." Yup, most of speech is lost to him, but swearing he has no trouble with. And I find this fascinating. I mean, who’d have thought that while he become unable to communicate with ordinary words, the profane words stay in his easily accessible repertoire. Perhaps it has something to do with the emotional context of the words, and thus they are more directly tied to the more primitive parts of our brain, buried deeper down and as of yet untouched by the ravages of frontal lobe dementia. Or….it could be that this was all held in reserve in a sort of cerebral storage tank, socked away all those times when my brother and I were growing up and he stifled the outward expression of emotion-releasing profanity.
I don’t have any answers to this. No matter. I still think it’s interesting, nonetheless.