DEAR ABBY: You recently advised readers to substitute an acceptable word or phrase for curse words. Your examples were "Holy Moses!" and "Gosh darn son-of-a-sea-cook!"
My dad, Dale Lynk, must have had a wider repertoire because he had a longer list of substitutions. However, even they were suspiciously close to the original. His standard line went like this: "Cheese and rice, got all muddy, got damp by a stone on the beach." It must have worked, because I do not remember that he said much worse than that. Thanks for the memory. -- ALLAN LYNK, WADENA, MINN.
DEAR ALLAN: I admire your father's creativity. Read on for another suggestion:
DEAR ABBY: I, too, was a "Cursing Mom" -- mostly in traffic.
When my two sons were old enough to start imitating me, I set up a system of fines. This worked both ways since spanking and time-outs don't work so well. They were fined for "not listening to Mama or Daddy," for hitting, etc. I was fined if they caught me swearing. Each boy would get 50 cents each time he caught me. Both collected, even if only one heard me. It got to be a family joke. I'd put the money in their savings accounts, and once I took them shopping with it.
I haven't had to pay out in a while, and neither of my sons swears, nor do they seem the least bit interested in doing so. (They are now 9 and 7.) I've gotten quite creative in venting frustration. Now, if I get angry in traffic, I make up obnoxious songs about the other driver's bad habits. I hope this helps other frustrated moms. -- TONI BROWN, VIRGINIA BEACH
DEAR TONI: An excellent solution, but not a new one. I recall a famous movie and television star of the '50s, Loretta Young, who had a "swear box" on the set of her show because she wouldn't tolerate bad language.
I have also received mail from readers who feel that substituting other words for swear words is still swearing -- and that those who strive to rid themselves of the habit should refrain from uttering oaths of any kind.