Hey, after all these years, I’m vindicated at last:
Scientists from Keele University found that letting forth a volley of foul language can have a powerful painkilling effect, especially for people who do not normally use expletives.
To test the theory, student volunteers placed their hands in a bucket of ice cold water while swearing repeatedly.
They then repeated the exercise but, instead of swearing, used a harmless phrase instead.
Researchers found that the students were able to keep their hands submerged in the icy water for longer when repeating the swear word – establishing a link between swearing and an increase in pain tolerance.
They also found that the pain-numbing effect was four times more likely to work in the volunteers who did not normally use bad language.
The team believes the pain-lessening effect occurs because swearing triggers the ”fight or flight” response.
The accelerated heart rates of the students repeating the swear word may indicate an increase in aggression, in a classic fight or flight response of ”downplaying feebleness in favour of a more pain-tolerant machismo”.
The research proves that swearing triggers not only an emotional response, but a physical one too, which may explain why the centuries-old practice of cursing developed and why it still persists today.
Dr Richard Stephens, who worked on the project, said: ”Swearing has been around for centuries and is an almost universal human linguistic phenomenon.”
And, indeed, some of what we were taught in schools was wrong.
For instance, the story has it Patrick Henry said “Give me liberty or give me death.” He really said: “Wear one of those dreadful Tory hats? Up your $^%@@!”
George Washington is said to have told his Dad when asked who chopped down the cherry tree: “I cannot tell a lie…” He actually said, “No &*%! way!”
Of course, things are different today.
These days if asked about the cherry tree a Democrat would say: “A Republican did it!” and a Republican would say “A Democrat did it!”
Donald Trump would say: “Let me see the certificate to prove when that tree was planted.”
Dennis Kucinich would say: “The tree was damaged in an unjust war.”
And an Orange County Republican official who sent out a racist email depicting Barack Obama and his parents as apes would probably say: “The media did it!”
FYI, I’ve also found that swearing also helps relieve feelings when reading blog comments.
Now if there is a story that says eating a hot fudge sundae makes you lose weight, my life will be complete.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.