Thoughtless speech

Emily Glass | Fulcrum Contributor

MY FRIENDS WOULD describe me as a stickler for grammar and language. Not to the point that I’m annoying (I hope), but I’ve been known to correct text messages that use “your” instead of “you’re,” and I cringe when someone asks, “Is there any questions?”

What bothers me even more than improper grammar is thoughtless speech. People are guilty of not properly finishing sentences all the time. How often do you hear someone finish their ideas with the words “and stuff”? The ultimate abuse is using profanity where it is absolutely not necessary, simply because someone can’t be bothered with finding a more articulate expression. Don’t get me wrong, nothing feels better than dropping an F-bomb in frustrating situations, but there is a time and a place.

For example, describing food is definitely not one of those times. As I was finishing off a yummy bowl of soup and a piece of carrot cake for lunch the other day, a person at my table started up a conversation with a friend. I was sitting so close that I couldn’t help but overhear. The friend asked what the other ordered for lunch, and she answered with, “Some curry shit. It’s delicious.”

I was taken aback. The words “shit” and “delicious” are not harmonious. Rather, the word “shit” was used in this contradictory sentence because this person couldn’t be bothered to find a word that would more accurately describe the lovely meal she was about to enjoy.

The more I thought about it, the more I also began to think this was a very offensive thing to say. Sure, we blurt things out all the time, but sometimes it’s just not excusable. What if the person who had prepared the “shit” overheard that comment? Generally, if something is described as shit, it’s a pretty strong commentary. Careless language definitely has the potential to become offensive.

Furthermore, I would hope that people generally respect themselves enough to not consume “shit.” As a vegetarian, I think a lot about what I eat, and take pride in being as healthy as possible. Even if I was not enjoying what I was eating, I would not describe it as shit, because that would be a commentary on what I chose to nourish my body with.

So, fellow students of the University of Ottawa, go ahead and finish your sentences with “and stuff,” if you must. Thinking before speaking is sometimes overrated. But please think before throwing around potentially offensive profanities, and, for your own sake, don’t go around eating shit.