As Ever, Y’know, The Heck?


I am all but certain there was a time in my life when I could look at a sign and not feel helpless before the questions it posed, but now, I realize I can’t even look around one of those sad little minor arcades tucked in the far back section of the Cedar Point amusement park without noticing something like this “Guide To Coin-Operated Video Games”, and the description of game content. Particularly, there’s this pair at the bottom:

Language Mild: Contains commonly used four-letter words, presumably of the milder variety.
A guide to coin-operated video games posted at one of the minor arcades in the western-themed area of Cedar Point. And isn’t it charming they don’t just say “cuss words” instead?
LANGUAGE
MILD
Contains commonly used four-letter words.
LANGUAGE
STRONG
Contains strong four-letter expletives.

What do they mean by “commonly used four-letter words”? Since it’s “mild” language that suggests they mean words such as “word” and “four” and “used” and “mild” and maybe even “blue”, “them”, “malt”, “thaw”, “ever”, “pear”, or the mildest of all mild words, “chat”, a word so mild it only becomes enraging because anyone asking for a “chat” with you is transparently trying to manage you to becoming angry at someone other than them, the person you should be angry at.

And by pinning down the red-zone warning words to “strong four-letter expletives” they seem to be ruling out all cases where you take a popular strong expletive and turn it, say, into an adjective or adverbial form, or maybe where you insert it into the middle of some other word like “absolutely”. But also if they mean this then how do they qualify the phrase “h-e-double-toothpicks”, which is nineteen letters but so mild that you can say it anywhere that hasn’t been ravaged by controversy over the toothpick industry? These are all questions I feel I cannot answer.

Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there. He/him.

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