Curses for Cures, or Lalochezia in Action

Kuse muuntajaan! (Finnish for 'May you piss into a transformer!') Yeah!
Kuse muuntajaan! (Finnish for ‘May you piss into a transformer!’) Yeah!

Lent is over, folks, which means I can revert to my standard vocabulary of shameless profanity… but not before making a little contribution to the scientists at the TGen Foundation: A whopping $169.

It’s a new record for ear-bleeding Lenten penance. I smashed my previous personal worst of $160 on Easter Eve when I was stirring my roux and hot grease spattered onto my middle-finger (natch), prompting a textbook example of lalochezia:


Yes, I said it five times… in a row… and yes, my finger felt better afterward (especially when I was showing everyone the wound)… until the blister broke during a 13-mile hike on Easter morning, and I soothed myself with a hearty: FUCK!

By that time, it was too late, I’d already amassed enough profanity to cover the costs associated with about 2 percent of a human genome, based on estimates from the National Human Genome Research Institute (roughly $7,000 in 2014). At the very least, I hope my vulgarity could cover part of the water and sewage bill for the researchers’ bathrooms at 445 N Fifth Street in Phoenix… because, well, researchers need clean places to poop, too.

As I ease back into the filth-infested waters of linguistic licentiousness, I find it takes a little getting used to: I choke on the words that want to spill from my mouth, and after 40 days of more-or-less clean living, I find myself searching for more pleasant replacements. I even bought a book so I could be more creative in my cursing:

Take that, you budak monyet bodoh! (Indonesian for 'stupid slave monkey')
Take that, you budak monyet bodoh! (Indonesian for ‘stupid slave monkey’)

After all, if there are no Armenians around, who could be offended when I unleash a very special, “Krisnera zhazh tan vred!” on unsuspecting eardrums? The answer is, anyone who knows anything about rat ejaculation (provided I could pronounce it correctly – How To Swear Around the World does not come with a Hooked on Phonics 8-track.

And speaking of 8-tracks, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge Paul Poirot and Charles Sangerhausen, two college friends who spent the past 40 days and 40 nights lobbing earworms and right-wing screeds onto my Facebook feed. Who can forget Jefferson Starship – We Built this City? The entire Hall and Oates catalog? The greatest hits (and fax campaigns) of the Tea Party Patriots? And finally, the Barbie Girl ditty that makes the Awesome song from the Lego movie sound like a rock anthem? (Don’t click the links… don’t say you weren’t warned). For easily adding about $40 to the final count, I give you lads a sincere: Thanks, assholes!

If you would like to contribute to the cause (ahem), please make your donation of any amount (say, $169) right here – and be sure to include #cursesforcures in the comments.

I’d also like to thank the few, fearless friends who joined me on this journey of personal improvement: Kathy Kudravi, Stephanie Stanley, Dale Childress, David Vispi, Tara Richards and Kat Lange-Richards. I’m sure our co-workers, friends and family members are grateful for this interlude of polite conversation, instead of our standard loop of carpet-bombing f-words.

Which brings me to the big explanation: Why the fuck am I doing this?

I’m neither Catholic nor catholic in my religiosity. I do celebrate the hell out of Mardi Gras, so I think that 40 days and 40 nights of trying to do right by my vocabulary is a small price to pay at $1 per violation (and my co-workers thank me gratuitously for it).  In three years of celebrating a curse-free Lent (or at least attempting to celebrate it), my potty mouth has spayed and neutered three shelter dogs and provided toiletries for a homeless shelter.

This year, I wanted to sequence a genome in honor of my friend Troy Richards.

Troy is, without question, the toughest son-of-a-bitch I know. The scientists at TGen have had a hand in saving his ass multiple times from the ravages of adrenal cancer — and their work with him has translated into new treatments for other patients. They are doing ground-breaking research that might well save your life one day… and they’re doing it in a state that has no qualms about launching anti-science legislative turd-blossoms every January in the Arizona senate.

So we didn’t quite sequence a genome, but in temporarily curing my tongue of the cancer of profanity, I’d like to think we made the world a slightly more delightful place to live.

And if not: Jiao nisheng haizi mei pigu yan!



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