Redeeming Science

I swear more than I like; as a child I fully succumbed to my father’s theory that people who swore just didn’t have good enough imaginations to choose better words.  But I am, in the heat of the moment, a potty mouth.  I’ve always kind of wished that I were a sailor; as I understand that sailors and longshoremen are the best swearers . Then maybe I’d have a bigger swearing vocabulary and wouldn’t need to feel my father’s disapproval from the great beyond.

So lo and behold, I see online today (SciShow) that it turns out that swearing can confer stress release, pain amelioration and increased social bonding.  This backs up a Mythbusters episode I saw a few years back in which they tested pain response (iced water) in volunteers who either had to stay silent or could swear to their heart’s content.  The swearers were able to hold their hands in the iced water longer and recorded a less intense level of pain.

Apparently the social bonding is based on the perception that you are more open/forthright if you swear, as opposed to “holding something back” by not swearing occasionally.  There is apparently science to back this up along with the stress relief aspect of swearing as well.

I don’t know if having this knowledge will make me swear more or if I will always hear my father’s voice in the back of my head.

What bad habit would you have that you’d like to be redeemed by science?

36 thoughts on “Redeeming Science”

  1. I have chewed my nails since I was a small cbild. I started as a way to prevent my mother from clipping my nails. I disliked that for some reason. Now I chew my nails when I am stressed. I am usually stressed,. My nails always look terrible.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting Rene. Because the SciShow piece that I watched yesterday talked about 5 bad habits and nail chewing was one of them. So nail chewing as a child turns out not that bad after all has some redeeming characteristics.


    2. Same with me, Renee. And always at a time when I’d LIKE my nails to look at least decent. When I’m relaxing up in the BWCA paddling and relaxing, all by myself, my nails look great by the end of the trip. 😉

      Chris in Owatonna

      Liked by 4 people

    3. It hurt when my mother trimmed my nails…I screamed the whole time. Neither my mother nor my father understood. He once worried that the neighbors would think I was being abused…well…maybe? My mother to her end trimmed her own nails close to the quick. I leave a space.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Science will declare that leaving dirty dishes in the kitchen promotes the growth of “good” bacteria that lead to a robust immune system, that solving kakuro and sudoku puzzles staves off dementia, and that red wine prevents heart disease.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. I was just thinking that creative use of symbols when cursing in print could be the equivalent of creative use of words to replace swear words.

        “Away, you starvelling, you elf-skin, you dried neat’s-tongue, bull’s-pizzle, you stock-fish!”
        Henry IV Part I (Act 2, Scene 4)

        C in O

        Liked by 3 people

  3. I don’t think that science can find any good in my cussing during bell choir practice, especially when we rehearse in the sanctuary.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pish- too many bad habits to even name. Nails, swearing, etc…
    Sailors have a good reputation or swearing but they haven’t worked along a stagehand. When I used to do that more, I’d work one night and swear for a week afterward.

    My favorite civil war battle is the Battle of Athens along the border of Missouri and Iowa.

    I stopped at the site a few years ago. One of the placards reads:
    “A contemporary said Col. David Moore ‘Could get madder and swear longer without repeating himself more than any man I ever knew’ ”
    Cracks me up every time I read that. What a way to be remembered.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. OMG, Ben. My wife and I visited the Battle of Athens site just a few weeks ago! Had the place to ourselves on a cool, clear April morning. Didn’t see that quote though (or didn’t remember it).

      It was a spontaneous visit since we only saw the sign as we were driving home from a trip and I decided, “Let’s go check this place out.” From what I read, it wasn’t much of a battle but the grounds are well maintained, signage is good, and it had that eery, reflective quality that I sense when I’m on an old battlefield and think about all the people who were trying to kill each other that day (and trying NOT to be killed by the other guy.)


      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s about why I ended up there. Saw the sign on a previous trip and the next time through it was “Well, I’m not getting any closer than this” and went that way. I visited in March of 2017 and also had the place to myself. Also a nice warm spring day.

        My GPS had me on little narrow gravel roads; was kinda creepy. But a nice little park, yes.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. a civil war site on the border of iowa and missouri? i had no idea. i see battle scenes everywhere i look in georgia and virginia’s landscapes but never in iowa or missouri

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It hurt when my mother trimmed my nails…I screamed the whole time. Neither my mother nor my father understood. He once worried that the neighbors would think I was being abused…well…maybe? My mother to her end trimmed her own nails close to the quick. I leave a space.


    1. I read somewhere that if you say “We’re going to cut” your nails (or hair, for that matter) the little kid thinks it’s going to hurt, because when they experienced a cut, it hurt. Saying “trim” was helpful…


    1. I like this a lot. It’s kinda funny, because if I see someone else with a messy desk or a messy living space, I tend to want to fix it. If it’s my own, though, it doesn’t seems to urgently need fixing. As it says in the article, it feels in control.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. i smoked for years and when i quit for the final time when my intentions actually took after 200 or 300 tries i noticed i became unconsciously enlisted in the nail biters club. never did that before. makes it less desirable when playing classical guitar but to be honest that’s not a huge deterrent these days. i am so happy to be off the damn cigarettes that held me prisoner for 40 years that ugly nails are almost a trophy

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I have never understood nail biting. I’ll bite a nail only if I have somehow managed to fray the edge of one, and I don’t have a nail clipper handy. But, apparently my technique isn’t good, because I inevitably end up with a nail that’s too short, exposes the tender skin under the nail, and causes pain.


  7. Procrastination is one of those bad habits that only occasionally is reinforced by paying off, but when it does, it sticks in my memory. I have on occasion dreaded doing something, and then have it become irrelevant because the situation resolved itself. One year, after I had retired but Hans was still working, I actually filed our tax return as soon as he received his W-2 form. Normally, I put that off till the last minute. Wouldn’t you know it, that was the year – the only year ever – that Hans’ employer made a mistake on all of the W-2s and had to issue new ones. Normally that wouldn’t have inconvenienced me at all, but that year I had to file and amended return. I was not a happy camper.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The stress relief claim about swearing does sort of resonate with me.

    When I was a wee thing my father would swear rather mildly, by saying “Dammit anyway!” I was old enough to understand “Dammit” and knew that it was considered a bad word, but to this day I remain a little puzzled by the addition of the word “anyway”. Maybe it was a German thing. But all these years later, when I am really frustrated, I find myself saying, or sometimes thinking, “Dammit anyway!”

    Liked by 5 people

  9. My sister and I weren’t allowed to swear when we were little. Dad taught us that swearing was bad form, and proof of a limited vocabulary – except when we were physically hurt. Then swearing was preferable to crying.

    Mom on the other hand, when she got mad would say things like “bloody bastard,” in English, of course, so most people would pay no attention. Randy and I grew up thinking that calling someone a “bloody bastard,” was perfectly normal and acceptable. That is, until we visited her sister, Bridie, who lived in Plymouth, England. When outside playing with our nieces and nephew, they would promptly tattle on us when one of us would invariably call someone a “bloody bastard.” It was just part of our rather limited English vocabulary, but auntie Bridie quickly disabused us of the notion that it was an acceptable thing to say.

    Liked by 2 people

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