Monday, July 13, 2009

Dammit, the doctor told me to cuss!

F***ing-A! You damn well know this MSNBC report hits the son-of-a-b****ing nail on the f***ing head!
Peggy Loper doesn’t know why, but she’s sure that the rapid hissed repetition of her favorite expletive somehow dulls the pain when she’s hammered her thumb rather than the nail she’d aimed for.

“Generally I start swearing even before the pain actually registers,” says the 48-year-old student from Salem, N.J. “And usually, the ouch-ouch dance, where I’m hopping from foot to foot, goes along with it. People have told me that I should try deep breathing, but I personally prefer to swear.” The F-bomb is her curse word of choice; that hard consonant at the end is particularly satisfying, she explains.

As it turns out, Loper may be right. British scientists have shown that swear words can have a powerful pain-killing effect, according to a new study published in the journal NeuroReport.

The researchers originally thought that swearing would make pain worse by focusing a person’s attention on the injury and its implications. To prove their hypothesis, they set up an experiment with 67 college students.

The students were asked to plunge their hands into frigid 41-degree Fahrenheit water for as long as they could stand the pain. Half were told to repeat their favorite curse word while their hands were submerged. The other half were asked to repeat a neutral word describing a table, such as solid or brown, while keeping their hands under water. Then the whole experiment was repeated with the two groups switching types of word. (Favorite swear words were, as you might guess, the ones starting with "F" and "S." But since the subjects were British, the researchers also got an earful of "bollocks.")
SO, THERE. Honey, I'm not a white-trashy, vulgar, low-class person. I am just withstanding pain -- of both the physical and mental varieties -- in a rational, systematic and medically appropriate manner.

If you don't like what you hear when I've stubbed my toe (or have just gotten off the phone with my mother), remember that I'm just doing what needs to be done. So back the @#!$ off!

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