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Monday, January 21 , 2019, 5:05 am | Fair and Breezy 53º


She Said, Z Said: Curses! There, Feel Better?

New research shows that swearing up a storm eased the physical pain suffered by test subjects

Z: As a man who believes there is no such thing as a bad word, just bad times to use them, I gotta love a study out of this month’s journal NeuroReport.

She: Seriously? You’re going to namedrop NeuroReport like it’s something you read all the time? You pretentious $*@#.

Z: Well, it was referenced in an article in Scientific American called, “Why the #$%! Do We Swear? For Pain Relief.”

She: Great headline, but Scientific American? Still not buying it.

Z: Fine. You showed it to me from some funny news alert you get. Happy?

She: Go on.

Z: Anyhow, psychologist Richard Stephens of Keele University in England led a study that showed how swearing helped people deal with pain.

She: Why do the English get to do all the fun studies?

Z: He had subjects dip their hands in ice water to see how long they could last. When the subjects did it while cussing, they could stand it an average of 40 seconds longer.

She: OK, that doesn’t sound all that fun.

Z: Here’s the fun part: according to their research, it turns out that not only is there no such thing as a bad word, but that there are actually good times to use them. Like, when you’re in pain.

She: Just don’t tell Koss about that research.

Z: I don’t know.

She: Swearing may relieve stress for us, but for him it just causes it. It’s the @#$% weirdest thing for him to be uptight about.

Z: He needs to learn it’s science, babe. Stephens actually advised people to swear if they hurt themselves.

She: Does having someone cut in front of you in traffic count as hurting yourself?

Z: Not exactly.

She: What about breaking a nail, or smearing a manicure?

Z: I think they’re talking more about actual, physical pain.

She: Ah, like when I slammed my finger in the car door. #$%*& that hurt like @#$%$. Then, of course, Koss was even more traumatized than I was because, “Mommy said @#$%.”

Z: Or like the time I told him that we don’t swear in our house, but that maybe it would be OK when he got older, and he burst into tears. “Please don’t swear, Daddy! Don’t swear!”

She: I think if you told him you were going to go shoot someone he might have reacted better.

Z: I keep trying to explain to him that I think swearing is totally appropriate in some situations. Like, when Bambi’s mom dies. You know Bambi’s sitting there going, “$*#%! I am so @#$*!”

She: Maybe we should buy him that issue of Scientific American, and teach him a little bit about the science behind swearing.

Z: He actually has been playing with swear words a little bit. I’ve heard him mumble a few under his breath while we’re hanging out in the man cave.

She: No &*%$? He’s obviously still got a lot to learn.

Z: Should I help him by punching him in the shoulder at random intervals?

She: I’m not sure that teaching your child to swear by smacking them is exactly blue-ribbon parenting.

Z: You know what I learned while writing this column? $#*%! is a much funnier looking swear word than #(&-.

She: Yes, dear.

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