Wednesday, March 11, 2015

2420 Oath It

I learned an interesting term recently.  "Minced oath."  I was surprised I'd never heard the term before since I've used the dang concept almost since I could talk.

A minced oath is a substitute word or euphemistic phrase that replaces a profanity or a word used in a profane manner.  Like if you would normally say Jesus Christ in an oath of anger, you would say Jiminy Christmas instead.  Or Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat.

Not sure if a minced oath has anything to do with mincing words, as in the phrase, "Don't mince words with me young man."  Or any relation to mincemeat pie.  Was that pie originally called by some profane name? 

Anyhow, that's how we came to terms with the terms gol and gosh instead of god, and darn, dang and durn instead of the non-river blocking damn. 

Which reminds me of a traumatic incident from my youth.  One that pretty much cemented my negative reaction to arbitrary authority.  And I suppose to black and white thinking generally.

I was in a baseball game playing second base.  A ball was hit to me and I bobbled it. Actually, I never laid a glove on it, as it went through my legs.  I was embarrassed.  So I muttered, "Gol dang it." (A phrase, by the way, that I'd heard in a Li'l Abner movie.)

The nearby umpire got very red in the face and yelled, "You're outta here!" kicking me out of the game. 

"What for?" I asked. 

"For what you said," he said. 

I was shocked. "I just said 'gol dang it.'" 

"I know what you meant.  Move!"

Apparently umpires are mind readers too. 

I left before he applied the then universally acceptable from adults in authority corporal punishment.  Lucky I didn't call him a fudgehead. 

America, ya gotta love it. 

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