In one of his biggest hits the country artist Rodney Atkins sings, "My 4-year-old said a four-letter word, it started with s, and I was concerned, and I said son, now where'd you learn to talk like that?

"He said, 'I've been watching you.'"

No need to listen to the rest of the song (called "Watching You") to know how embarrassed Atkins was that his son picked up his own bad habit. But while Atkins' behavior prompts him to ask the Lord later in the song to "help him help his stupid self," a new study suggests that as long as Atkins doesn't routinely practice his foul-mouthed antics, he may have found a way to temporarily tolerate pain.

This won't be the pain reliever of choice for many people, but when Keele University researchers had their subjects hold their hands in ice-cold water, they found that those who typically don't use swear words could handle the cold twice as long if they swore than they could when they used a neutral word instead, according to The Telegraph.

Those subjects who regularly swear had to pull their hands out of the water 20 seconds earlier than those who don't normally swear.

Many who have stubbed a toe in the middle of the night have muttered under their breath, but being that James 1:26 tells us "If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, the man's religion is vain," some may want to look for replacement words for the heavy hitters.

One place renowned for its ability to make up words kosher for the religious appetite is BYU. The heavily Mormon student population has such a great ability for finding creative fill-ins for four-letter words that the movie "Sons of Provo" riffs on the culture with a song titled "Dang, Fetch, Oh My Heck."

And what passionate "Survivor" watcher can forget Mormon Neleh Dennis' "Oh my heck" in 2002. Even Rosie O'Donnell gave her a shirt with the saying emblazoned on it when Dennis visited O'Donnell's show.

Finding replacement words would also help popular TV shows in their move to syndication, as portrayed by of an edited episode of "The Sopranos" for PAX TV. The parody comically cut the final episode of the series from an hour to 3 minutes.

EMAIL: jbolding@desnews.com