When not at work, some librarians I know have the filthiest mouths of anyone I've encountered. But at the desk they obviously can't use bad words, so I got curious about the public-safe language librarians use to replace swear words. That's the catch-22 of libraries: serving the public can be stressful, but working at a public service desk means being limited in how we can respond when something goes wrong.
I asked around a bit and here's a list of some choice "safe" words library staff use:
- some old standards: Shoot, Fudge, Bologny
- Jeepers Crow
- Fly me (to the moon)
- Mother of pearl
- What the what?
- For the love of Pete
- For cripe's sake
- Shut the front door
- Sugar Honey Iced Tea
The last one is my favorite - read it again, but just the first letter of each word.
I'm sure everyone has their favorites - what are your patron-safe swear words? Please share them in the comments or make #swearlikealibrarian a trending topic.
When I was originally working on this post, I thought some gansta rap-style image would make an appropriate illustration. I couldn't find one exactly right, but I did think this was funny: