138. Profanity

The human body is fundamentally flawed, and if put into the arena with a cheeseburger would likely lose, badly. Take food as a case in point. In the olden days when everything was black and white, people ate food as they do today. But they didn’t have to worry about E numbers, obesity or anything like that. They would eat whatever they wanted and then eventually die of dysentery. They would be none the wiser until they were given eight minutes to live. Today we are constantly warned, mainly by The Daily Mail, that everything we ingest will kill us and that there is nothing we can do. From toothpaste to home-grown cabbage, the poison of nature will make our hearts fall out and our bottoms fall off. There is no hope.

We enjoy a good beer, a burger, a doner kebab and some chicken nuggets, but all they are is a one way ticket to the bone-yard. Why are all the good things so bad for us? Even the stuff that is apparently good for you is bad for you. Apples rot your teeth, bananas make you explosive and a prime fillet steak upsets the cow community. But put our daily intakes aside for just one minute, what about the stuff that comes out? No, I’m not being lavatorial, I’m talking about profanity.

The human body is very susceptible to reflex actions. When the doctor taps your knee with a hammer, it twitches. If you decide to dip your finger into a pot of boiling hot tea then the common reflex is to remove it post haste and yell profanities until the pain goes away. Even the Pope, especially since he has tendered his resignation, would forgive you if you hit your thumb with a hammer and shouted “f*** it.” And that’s just it; to swear is to be human. Anyone who says that they don’t use curse words on reflex is either a liar or a giraffe.

I am notorious for such things. With me it’s effing this and effing that constantly. Whether its traffic lights being difficult by insisting on remaining red or someone whose face I don’t particularly like, they will be on the receiving end of some f-word fun. It’s nothing personal; it’s just what I am accustomed to. I can’t even describe something as innocently cute as a bunny rabbit without adding an f-inspired prefix.

Of course being from the barely-United Kingdom I am used to such language. It is just something that is done. From Johnny Builders-bum to the Archbishop of Canterbury it is as risqué as it is accepted. But, as was established many moons ago, things in the UAE are quite different.

Swearing, it would seem, is unacceptable. To the do-gooders and Liberal Democrats this may be the sweet sound of music that they have been campaigning for; a land where swearing is not just socially inappropriate, but is also an offence punishable by prison. Of all the crimes; theft, blackmail, kidnapping, murder, how narked would you be if you were sent to jail for saying the f-word? You’d be notably f****d off.

No really, you can get your collar felt for overly-liberal prose. The other day I witnessed a person using the most colourful array of adjectives, nouns and metaphors that you have ever heard. It was fascinating to behold. Clearly unaware of their surroundings, the person sounded off as if they were in soft-touch Britain with an expression that implied that they “didn’t see the f*****g problem.” And why should they of? After all words are words, who decides their meaning?

Sadly, there are some words that are considered taboo and you have to be careful. If you utter the wrong word to the wrong person then they are within their legal right to make a complaint to the police. The police, hot off the roundabout, will put on a bit of blues and twos and lock down the immediate environment. Johnny Wordsmith will ask “what the f*** is happening” as he spends a night in the cells, bemused as to his crime.

You may very well be lucky and indulge in a spot of profanity with someone who doesn’t care too much. But don’t be fooled because that is where the problem lies. If you get too trigger happy with Mr. F then you become more and more accustomed to it. All may be well for a while but one day you will accidentally cross paths with a Sheikh, and when you indecorously tell him to “do one”, your time in the UAE will be over quicker than you can say “err no, wait.”

It is all too easy to forget that we are guests over here in the UAE, not hosts. If swearing can get you put inside for one month then you have no one to blame but yourself if you get caught. It may be a bitter pill to swallow but in the grand scheme of things the law won’t make any exceptions for you. Sometimes I wish that the UK would follow the no-nonsense UAE example.

Of course it’s not really your fault for blurting out the f-word or other such choice phrases, as I said; the human body is fundamentally flawed. Science has proven that human evolution has dictated that our reflexes occur quicker than our brains can transmit brain things. If someone cuts you up on the road then they will get a good effing. If someone has run off with your wife, they too will be barraged with a maelstrom of Vitamin F and if someone thinks that they can rival UAE Uncut’s obvious brilliance then they can f*** right off, too.

I love you now but I know you'll be the end of me.

I love you now but I know you’ll be the end of me.

But there is a fundamental problem: swearing is healthy. I know that Polly Toynbee will cover her ears and “la” loudly and repeatedly, but it is true. I was in the most horrific of traffic jams in all of human history this week and the car ahead of me at the traffic lights failed to move off when they turned green. Had I not vented my thoughts the way I did then I would have very likely exploded. When I poke my finger into a live plug socket I need to let off steam via expletive gibberish to make the frizzing go away. If I didn’t I would just be lying there looking bored.

Swearing is good for you in the sense that it serves short term satisfaction, like a Big Mac or a Meatball Marinara on Italian bread. But too much of a good thing can be bad for you. It will catch up with you in the end, and by then there will be little that you can do about it.

Live by the word, die by the word. See you next Tuesday.

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