Anyone who has ever watched "Inside the Actor's Studio", with its creepy host, James Lipton, is familiar with the questions based on the "Proust Questionnaire" that Lipton lobs to his guests at the end of the show. "What turns you on?" "What turns you off?" "What sound or noise do you love?", etc. Blah, blah, blah... I don't care if Dustin Hoffman loves the sound of his own self-important voice rattling around in that huge, self-important head of his.
The question that always grabs my attention is "What is your favorite curse word?" Of course, since the show is on Bravo, the curse word is generally bleeped out anyhow, leaving the answer limp and ineffective. I am not a good lip-reader, so unless the person in charge of the bleeping is talented, I usually have no clue. The talented bleeper on the other hand, can make the bleeped out curseword as apparent as if it had not been bleeped at all. Instead of hearing **** off!, one hears *uck off! - much more exciting.
But I am not writing today to discuss bleeping out cursewords, or even to dive into the Actor's Studio. I am writing to discuss my own newest, favoritest curse word. Actually, it's a phrase. My old favorite was "horsesh*t", followed closely by "sh*t*ss". That's how they would be bleeped by a talented bleeper. It seems I have a thing for fecal-based cursing. Along those lines, my new favorite curse-phrase is "Stuff it up your *ss". I have made it a point to bring this up to several colleagues, friends and co-workers, resulting in varying degrees of uncomfortable conversation, depending on the person with whom I conversed. What the *ell, I thought they needed to know...
My reasoning for "Stuff it up your *ss" is simple. It is an elegant, powerful statement. If you tell someone to "stick" something up their *ss, it almost seems like asking them to shelve a book for you, or hand you the salt. To "shove" something up one's *ss is a bit more powerful, but in the manner of being a sudden shock, like dipping one's toes in icy water. On the other hand, if you "stuff" something up your *ss, you've undertaken a project that is going to be long, painful, strenuous and perhaps impossible.
And I like that thought, because if I am angry or annoyed enough to tell someone to "stuff your attitude up your *ss!", I want them to take awhile to work on it and know it's there when they've finished. When telling someone off and tossing out the suggestion thatthe argument should ultimately end up in your listener's *ss, there is a delicate balance between being dismissive ("stick it up your *ss.") and overly forceful ("ram it up your *ss."). Which is why "stuff it up your *ss" is such a beautiful send off. It is the perfect blend of contempt and power.
I have been bandying the phrase about with abandon, enjoying the way it rolls off the tongue. While watching "Tombstone" lastnight on television, I noted that one of the lesser Clantons told Wyatt Earp to "stuff it up your *ss!" I was amazed at the young man's moxie, but also knew without a doubt that his time on earth was now limited. One must be wary to whom you levy the "stuff it up your *ss". It is a fine rejoinder, but should be used with caution.
James Lipton: "What is your favorite curseword?" Jerry: "Stuff it up your *ss."
James Lipton: "What sound makes you happy?" Jerry: "The sound of you stuffing your questions up your *ss."(From February, 2011)