The Invention of Cussing!

The scholarly significance of this can’t be overstated, but I believe I’ve discovered what prompted the first-ever curse word. 

I have a new bedsort of. It has the same mattress and box spring, but the cloth-covered headboard is new, and it has what bed-o-logists call a rail. The rail is like a footboard but encloses the sides of the bed as well. Pleasingly aesthetic, it is also covered in cloth.

This new sleeping environment wasn’t my idea, but I have to admit it looks nice and the rail mitigates the need of a dust ruffle. To men, a dust ruffle is a superfluous nonessential, but it is an absolute necessity for women.

And here’s another nice change: banging my noggin on the new headboard isn’t nearly as painful. However — and this is a big caveat — the bed comes with an extra pair of legs. Instead of four legs, like on a normal bed, it has six. The previously-mentioned rail that goes along the sides of the bed needs support in the middle; thus the two other legs.

Can you guess where the cussing comes in yet?

In our distant past, some clever Neanderthal invented a bed. It was, no doubt, a simple affair. He probably made good use of a cozy nook in his cave, where he laid out his saber-toothed tiger pelts for a comfortable snooze.

But then an even cleverer iteration of man — possibly Cro-Magnon — decided that he didn’t like sharing his bed with crawling or slithering vermin. Thus the concept of an elevated sleeping platform was born. Legs were added to beds for the first time.

Now, for the premise of this scholarly treatment:

Admittedly, I can’t back this up with hard data, but I’m nearly sure that the first utterance of an expletive occurred when early man mangled his phalanges after smacking his toes into one of the first bed-elevating legs. I feel this to be true from a recent experience. It led to an utterance that could only have come from a deep-seated memory that all mankind possesses from birth.

The other day, I was making the bed and I smashed my toe on the middle leg — a leg that has no business being there. Certain scholars have mathematically proven that a bed with six legs, instead of four, constitutes a 50-percent greater probability of incurring this egregious injury.

It hurt like a son-of-a-nutcracker, but I silently endured it.

I gingerly walked around to the other side of the bed. Taking great care, I avoided the other middle leg.

I smashed the toe on the corner leg instead.

Inhaling through my teeth as I writhed in pain, the exhalation that followed carried with it a scathing epithet for the genius who added more legs to beds. But here’s the thing:

The cursing came so naturally, from deep within my being, that it had to have come from some previously-lived life. I imagined a man in ancient Mesopotamia hopping around and cursing. Julius Caesar would’ve sworn in Latin. Veni, Vidi, Ouchi! Shakespeare would have had some eloquent prose: To cuss or not to cuss?

Anyway, it’s been scientifically proven that a well-timed cuss word after an injury does have a therapeutic effect. I know it helped me a little. And I could easily imagine the effect going back hundreds of generations.

So thanks to elevated beds, I may have just contributed to humankind’s scholarly database of self-knowledge. And viva the invention of cussing!

The End

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