Tuesday, April 15, 2008

God Damnit!

I've always thought it silly that "God Damnit" is censored on regular TV - I mean, you can say "god" on TV and you can say "damnit" on TV, so why not both together?

Then I eventually figured out that the reason it is considered so bad is because of the religious nature of it - and we all know that religious people deserve special rights and consideration because they are better than the nonreligious... ahem. Once I figured that out, I no longer considered it a swear word (phrase, really) at all.

Why am I discussing this now? Because yesterday, I got to day care after work and one of the caregivers told me in a somewhat grave tone that my daughter "said a bad word" today. To be fair, they didn't make a huge deal out of it. What I was thinking when she said this was, "oh, I hope she didn't say shit or fuck." But I had to know, so I asked, "what did she say and when did she say it?" I wanted to know the context. In my view, context appropriate swears are no problem at all.

So she told me that my daughter said, "god damnit" and that she said it when they were putting toys into a bin and my daugther missed the bin and the toy hit the floor. "Ok, then," I thought to myself, "context appropriate." I didn't say this, of course.

Later, when we were in the car driving home, as I thought about it, and pictured it in my head, I couldn't help laughing outloud. A lot. My daughter saw this and had no idea what I was laughing about, but she just had to laugh too, so we laughed all the rest of the way home.

Now, I don't want my daughter to swear all the time nor am I particularly thrilled that she swore in day care. But at least it was context appropriate. She learned it from me, of course. And my wife. It is probably what I say when I try to put something somewhere and miss. I actually heard my daughter say it before, when she was trying to put something on the shelf in the shower and missed, and she said in her cute two-year-old voice, "god-damn-nit." I may even have avoided laughing at that time.

Swearing is an important part of language, a part we all need to learn. I think she's doing just fine with it. Maybe I'm also a bit tickled at the thought of my daughter saying that because I'm an atheist and it is a Christian day care center. That has concerns all its own that I'll eventually have to deal with and probably will write about more later, though in the end, I figure she might as well get exposed (and innoculated) now. It ought to be interesting when my daughter finally asks me about this "god" and "Jesus" stuff and I tell her the truth, that they are imaginary friends for adults. What a conversation that will be, god damnit!


Erin said...

I'm deeply interested in people who say "damnit" with an n in the middle (almost like a "damn nit" you might find on a dirty child), when everyone knows it's more like "dammit," said very forcefully. (It should sound more like a sneeze than an actual word, especially God dammit, where "God" is the sharp intake of air before you actually sneeze.) "Goddam" is an even better word, in my opinion, and "sonsabitches" tops the list.

"Damnit" with an n must be a midwestern thing?

DBB said...

Full disclosure - I actually looked up the spelling specifically for the post and the spelling I found for the "right" way to spell it was "damnit" - I guess mostly to me, it is just a word I use verbally and never write, so I never really thought about how to spell it.