Yes, we still have a few more weeks until Christmas, but following that we have 365 days of a new year. Meaning those of us who take our New Year’s resolutions seriously need to get a start on how we’ll improve ourselves in 2018.
With the passing of years, we all inch toward the inevitability of old age and the decay of our faculties. The resolution is humanity’s way of defiantly saying we won’t get worse each year, but we will get better!
The most common resolutions are health related (exercise more, lose weight, eat better, stop drinking, stop smoking and so forth). Now those are all really big goals to work on, so allow me to help with one very small one: how to stop cursing.
This won’t extend your life like those other ones, but it is much, much easier.
Popular culture provides some great alternatives to profanity, so allow me to recommend a few choice @#$%s that I use when I need them.
Smeg: A while ago, you could freely use British swear words without anyone realizing what you were saying. But now thanks to globalization, they’re all out the door. Luckily smeg, from the ancient British sci-fi show “Red Dwarf,” fills in the gaps. It doesn’t really have a real-world counterpart. It just feels good when you say it and doesn’t mean anything. (See also “smeg head.”)
Frak: When “Battlestar Galactica” was really popular 10 years ago, this word saw a lot of action. The producers of the SyFy original show wanted their characters to use strong profanity, but they didn’t want to alienate viewers, so they invented this.
It turned out to be a great decision, as frak became a speech act to show familiarity with the show. It was used on “The Big Bang Theory,” “The Office” and “30 Rock.”
On the original 1970s “Battlestar,” they spelled this “frack,” which meant it wasn’t a four-letter word. Also in the meantime “fracking” was coined as a term for collecting petroleum products from the ground (short for “hydraulic fracturing”). So frak works better. Related is frell, which comes from yet another sci-fi series: “Farscape.”
Confusticate and bebother: This comes from the first chapter of "The Hobbit," when Bilbo is upset with all the trouble the dwarves have caused him when they steamroll into his house, eat all his food and break a lot of his crockery.
Bust this out while you’re losing a board game during the holidays and watch the smiles spread. (Of course, if Bilbo had any idea how much trouble The Hobbit movies would end up causing the rest of us, he probably would have used some choicer curse words.)
Sticklebats: Also from Mr. Baggins, this mild expletive doesn’t really mean anything. It’s got a bunch of satisfying hard consonant sounds — nice palindromic use of the “st” and “ts” with a hard “ck” sound in the middle — that is great for when your computer starts misbehaving. Note that this is original to the "Fellowship of the Ring" movie, so well done New Zealand writing team.
Blerg: This is the profanity of choice for the constantly bedeviled Liz Lemon on “30 Rock” when she has to deal with an aggravating co-worker or the weekly shenanigans overwhelm her. Also in one episode Liz says “shark-farts!” which I use in traffic, but many people might avoid this too. If so, stick with blerg.
Jinkies: This one is my current favorite. Jinkies is an all-purpose cry for help used by Velma on “Scooby-Doo” when things got too real or simply when she lost her glasses. It’s got a nice innocence to it. (See also yoinks!) Jinkies enjoyed a resurgence in popularity a few years ago thanks to Linda Cardellini’s delightful portrayal of Velma in the two otherwise forgettable Scooby-Doo movies.
Grawlix: This isn’t actually a fake swear word anyone uses, but it’s the term for when they @#$% in comic strips. I think it would make a good dog name.
I hope you feel better armed now with a good list of fake swear words to plow into a cleaner 2018. I can’t help you eat better, lose weight or exercise, but if you want to plop down on the couch with me come January, then I’m here for you. Blerg.