A while back, I left a comment below a British news article, which included the word “cuss” in it. I no longer remember the context of the article or the comment which I left. I just recall my shock at being berated by an American lady who personally disliked my choice of vocabulary. She was somewhat aggressive towards me (or came across that way from her use of words) simply because I had said “cuss” – not even because I actually cussed.
I knew straight away where the misunderstanding lay. As an East Londoner (I dare not speak for the rest of the country) the use of cuss to mean curse is quite foreign to me. Although having said that, I can hear it in a local Jamaican accent in my head. In fact, the use of the word curse here tends to have more sinister connotations than its usage common in American English. In the British English that I am familiar with, to “swear” would be the equivalent to the American “curse”.
So for the benefit of general diplomatic relations aka entertainment, I thought I would post a demonstration of an East London conversation that turned into a minor cussing match, taken from recent real life. I guess you could call it an amateur rap battle without the rhyme…
#8 | GLASSES
A: [Holding up a cup of water from the water cooler] There’s something wrong with the water y’know.
B: Don’t say that! I’ve just drunk a whole glass.
A: [Holding up the water against the light] No really, there’s something in it. It was a small piece of something hard.
C: I’ve been drinking it all day, nothing wrong with it. It’s probably a bit of your tooth.
A: No! It must be lime scale or something. Can’t be my tooth, that’s horrible!
C: Well, the water’s completely clear. There’s no lime scale in it, that’s utter nonsense. It’s entirely probable that a bit of your tooth fell in.
D: And if it’s not your tooth. It’s probably plaque.
A: Aww that’s disgusting! I don’t have plaque. Look at my teeth!
D: Eww! Why would I want to get close to your plaque, just drink your water!
A: [Mumbling and eyeing the water suspiciously] I don’t have plaque. There’s something in it man.
E: I have plaque.
Who am I kidding, this probably comes across as a rather immature form of workplace bullying! But allow me to assure you that it is in fact an example of the bundle of laughs I have at work. (Albeit a very poorly written example!) The above exchange was all in jest and “A” can give as good as she gets when she’s not feeling slightly insecure about the office drinking water. She’s got good reason to feel that way too, believe me. But this kind of cussing squeezes a lot of lemonade out of the lemons at work and gives us all regular belly chuckles to keep us going.
[This post is one in a series inspired by Fat Mum Slim’s photo a day challenge. I’m exploring ideas and often writing off the back of the idea of the day. It’s a chance to relax a bit in August but also do something slightly different. If you take part let me know – I’d love to see how you get creative with the daily posts!]