Here’s Swearing at You, Kid

By Rosalind Warren

Roz Warren ( writes for The  New York Times, The Funny Times, the Huffington Post, the Christian Science Monitor and the Jewish Forward. And she’s been featured on the Today Show. (Twice!)  Roz is the author of  Our Bodies, Our Shelves: A Collection of Library Humor. You can connect with Roz on Facebook at and follow her on Twitter at @WriterRozWarren.


Here’s Swearing at You, Kid

our bodiesAfter graciously coping with a library patron who went ballistic and began shouting at me when I told him there was a fine on his card, I logged onto my favorite Librarian Facebook hangout to ask: Have you ever been tempted to swear at work? And have you ever given in to this temptation?

Within a day, I’d received 84 responses. A sampling?

Fuck yeah, I curse at work! But never in front of patrons.

If patrons are near, I limit myself to “son of a monkey!”

I put the “cuss” in “customer service.”

I shout “Kuken,”  the Swedish word for dick, whenever I drop something.

Alas, we aren’t allowed to swear at my library, not even in the office where the patrons can’t hear us. I have to fall back on “fudge” or “darn.”

I can’t make a rule against swearing  because I’m the library director and I swear all the time myself.  This job inspires a lot of WTFs.

I actually told my boss when I interviewed for this job that swearing was one of my flaws. And I got the job!

I swore at work today, while using a computer. That’s why they call it a “cursor.”

My supervisor swears like a stevedore. What fun we have…

I can swear in four languages, which came in handy when I dropped a volume of the OED on my foot while working in the library of a Southern Baptist college and cut loose with a fluid stream of invective… in French.

I consider swearing to be the last refuge of the inarticulate. That being said, if you don’t swear much, when you do swear it surprises the shit out of people.

My husband likes to use words that sound like swear words but aren’t. His current favorite? “G. Gordon Liddy!”

Working in the Children’s Room means that I have to employ alternatives. I use “Drat” and “What the deuce?” Frequently.

I work at a high school library. I’ll substitute the word “plum” for any F-bombs. As in “Caleb, what the plum are you wearing?”

My son taught me “Tarter sauce!” via Sponge Bob. It’s surprisingly satisfying.

One of my co-workers shouts “Bad word! Bad word! Bad word!”

This week I swore in front of one of our sweet young teen pages. When I apologized, she laughed at me.

I just asked my new boss “WTF did you do that for?” She didn’t even blink.

I swear all the time. But I’m a sailor and it’s an important part of our culture, so don’t try to oppress me.

Strong emotions call for strong language. And we librarians are passionate people, right? We sure as fuck aren’t in it for the money.

If I couldn’t curse at work I would fucking explode!

In conclusion? Shut up and pay your fine without giving us any guff, you son of a monkey. Unless you want to see your librarian explode.


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