December 14th, 2013 Brian Herzog
Here's hoping I can crowd-source a reference question to help someone. I received the following message through the contact form on this website:
OK, this is my final attempt to research something. I'm going to pass it to you and then hopefully let it go! My mother died two years ago, Dec. 29th at the age of 91. We had a wonderful final six years together when I moved her to live in a small single floor house right across the street from me. We were great friends, always. (Well, maybe not in my tantrum throwing years) She told me of a saying she learned when she was a girl scout, of all places, that she was able to rattle-off with great speed until the day she died. If I had asked her, she could have made it the last humorous comment of her life. I am so haunted by it because I CAN'T find it anywhere on-line. I only remember bits of it. Now I'm going to see if YOU can research it! It HAD to have existed. Someone else MUST have known it, too. It was a humorous collection of "almost" cuss phrases. See what you can do with this pitiful hint: "son of a biscuit basket cheese and crackers got damp down in the (cellar overnight)" It was longer than that, and my quote may be flawed, after all, I am 67!! My memory is cruddy!! I always meant to write down this whole litany or memorize it, but never did. Do you think you can research it for me? It would help put this aggravating issue to rest in my own brain. Thanks.
I've certainly heard "naughty" rhymes like this, and when I searched online for variations of the key phrases, I did find a few that sounded familiar - though a bit ruder and not quite like what the person quoted.
I found a couple that are close, but don't seem as long as she was looking for:
So, are there any girl scouts out there that know this rhyme?
August 9th, 2011 Brian Herzog
I hope this post doesn't get blocked by your filtering software.
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:
Good job Hillsdale Free Public Library - Sir Mix-A-Lot would be proud.
Tags: bad, curse, language, libraries, Library, potty mouth, public, swear, swearing, swearlikealibrarian, word, words
January 8th, 2009 Brian Herzog
I'll warn you right up front: this post contains bad words.
While looking for a book on Amazon, I accidentally (really) found a book with the title Fuck this Book. Of course this caught my eye, so I read the description and found it actually sounded interesting (a la Postsecret, Found and Church Signs Across America).
I used the handy greasemonkey script to search my library's catalog directly from Amazon. I was surprised to see that my library had a record for the book, but it was In Cataloging - and has been for three years (there's got to be a story here, and I'm still trying to track it down [update: I asked around and learned the story, and the book has since, sadly, been deleted from our catalog]).
But this got me thinking: what other bad words are indexed in the library catalog? I ran some searches, and was surprised at the results. In my library's holdings alone, fuck has 12 matches and shit has 16 matches. I ran through a list of bad words, but most others also had non-bad meanings (pussy cat, Dick Cheney, etc).
I think it's important for libraries to provide unfiltered access to information, and not vilify a work or person because they violate a social taboos (besides, profanity is often in the eye of the beholder).
Tags: bad, bad words, book, Books, curse, fuck, georgecarlinwouldbeproud, language, libraries, Library, profanity, public, shit, swear, swearing, words