No, not you. I hope my headline didn’t offend anyone’s delicate sensibilities. Shhh. Come closer. I have a secret…Ready? “Shut up” is a bad word. So is “duh.” Shocked? According to my daughters both these words/phrase belong on the “do not say” list. Unfortunately, for my brain and mouth especially on the that first one, I forget its status as a bad word regularly.
I understand these words can be disrespectful and down-right rude, but sometimes a good, loud, “shut up” is called for and no other words will do the trick. This is almost surely the case when a migraine has plagued me for two days and the shrill, screeching, screaming of two young girls pierces through my temples and makes me want to hide under the bed. My repeated, “please be quiet,” goes unheard.
“Do you know what quiet means?” I’ll ask forlorn. No response comes from the loud ones that don’t stop talking ever. “It means no talking, humming, singing, chatting, tapping, laughing, giggling or making noises of any kind.” Both nod their heads in understanding. Still seconds later bickering, squabbling and squealing start back up. This is where the good “shut up” comes into play and can procure the desired silence I crave. Stunned looks creep across their faces as one will whisper, “Well, you don’t have to yell,” and the other will point out that “shut up” is a bad word.
How these random words became stigmatized as “bad” I do not know. My youngest is curious about various bad words and gestures.
“Why is my middle finger bad?” she asks.
“It just is,” I tell her.
“But why? What does it mean?”
“The same thing as the f-word.”
“What’s the f-word?”
“Something not nice,” I evade.
“Who made it bad?” she continues to question.
“I don’t know.” My headache starts to get worse.
“What happens if I stick my middle finger up?”
“Just don’t, OK?”
It’s at this point in the conversation, I truly want to scream, “shut up already,” but self-control restrains me. So I change tactics…
“Who wants ice cream?”
The excited squeals from the backseat surely cause hearing damage, but at least the 20 questions have stopped as I put my blinker on and turn into the DQ.