The reason the air is blue

MY granddaughter said ‘bugger’ to me today.

What happened to respect and veneration!

And don’t tell me we live in a modern world and I have to move with the times.

Someone must be responsible. Or are we born with a genetic memory for four‑letter words?

And if you think bugger is not a four-letter word you’re as bad as she is.

No, of course we’re not born with it. We – she – learns it. It’s mimicry pure and simple. If we could root out the source of the problem and cut its tongue out, we could put a stop to it.

I reckon it’s the schools. There was a time when the sounds drifting from a primary school playground were music to the ears. Now it’s best not to listen too closely, just in case you actually hear the words.

Maybe they teach them! I mean, it’s mostly good old Anglo Saxon stuff. One syllable, four letters, easy sounds like ‘b’ of ‘f’.

Probably be a piece of ‘p’ for most kids.

My wife says I’m being ridiculous.

She says it can’t be anything to do with schools because our granddaughter’s only 20 months.

Yes, but she’s a very advanced 20 months. She knocked off ‘mummy’ at one year. I’ve been coaching her with ‘onomatopoeia’ but she just says ‘bugger’ instead and giggles.

That’s the other problem. Everyone thinks it’s cute. It’ll be a different story when she’s six and she’s telling them in graphic physiological detail exactly where they can shove Winnie the Pooh.

I remember a kid who talked to the builders on the block next door. Her parents thought it was cute and educational, her learning about building a house. Until they asked her when it would be finished.

“Friday,” she replied, “if the effing bricks arrive.”

So it’s not schools at all. It’s builders. And accountants and lawyers and journalists and salesmen and beauticians and mums and dads.

There is no escape. The reason the Australian air is blue is not because of the oil in the eucalupyt leaves. It’s because the air is laced from Bendigo to the Boondocks with words that describe bodies or bodily functions.

I had a girlfriend once whose elderly mother didn’t know what a penis was. It came up, if you’ll pardon the expression, in a perfectly wholesome conversation between young parents about babies.

“What’s a penis,” she asked, innocently.

No-one liked to tell her because her husband’s name was Dick and the confusion would have been awful.

Oh! for the days when swearing would have been a waste of time because most of the population didn’t understand.

Now it’s being done by babies and they don’t understand. They just giggle and say it again.

You have to take a stand, though. I told the parents – my daughter and her partner – they should raise their standards for their child’s sake. I told them bad language eventually became a habit and they probably didn’t even realise they were doing it.

I told ’em little ears were always listening, and picking up things they shouldn’t.

The buggers tried to tell me it was my fault!