Weekend Wrinkle: Expletives We Don’t Have to Delete

You just slammed your thumb in a drawer, and there are not-so-nice words pressing your lips, desperate to get out.

Unfortunately, there’s a small child standing there with large, innocent eyes and cute, untainted ears. What do you say?

NixonLuckily, there are a ton of G-rated alternatives: phooey, sugar, shoot, drat, and darn, to name a few.

Expletives don’t need to be profane or obscene. There are a lot out there that do the job without polluting the mind. Let’s list a few: heck, goodness, goodness gracious, geesh, freaking, for crying out loud, and holy cow.

There are some that are on the borderline. I was driving along with my grandson in the back seat one time, and I missed a turn. “Crap!” I shouted then quickly apologized for my bad language.

“That’s all right,” my grandson replied. “I’ve heard worse.”

There are some unusual ones. I knew a lady who would say good night or good grief. (I hadn’t heard good grief said outside a comic strip.)

My parents used to declare, “Yer Aunt Tillie’s!” leaving what it was that belonged to my fictional Aunt Tillie to the imagination.

I was talking to a student one evening and became frustrated with a failure of technology. “Geesum crowbars!” I said.

He actually laughed. I guess that’s a much better response than a stronger expletive might produce.