I seem to have forgotten how to swear.
I used to work in a newsroom, where four-letter words are what you use when your log-in won’t work, when the kettle’s broken, when an interview falls down, or when there’s a silence of more than two minutes.
We once had a 15-year old with us for a week’s work experience, who was obviously shocked by the language she witnessed on a particularly fraught day. I felt momentarily guilty as I was in charge, but then reasoned that work experience meant just that.
She experienced the workplace as it was, not some watered down version of it.
And she probably heard far worse at school anyway.
Fast forward a few years and we notice our almost-two year old son saying something that sounds a little like something he shouldn’t.
“What did you say?” we ask, not allowing our horror to show.
“Fock-in-hell!” he pronounces again, loudly and clearly.
We look at each other. We did hear right.
We have to do something, and that something is to stop swearing in front of him. And to stop doing it in front of him, we have to stop it entirely, otherwise words slip out without clearance from our brains.
Even more years later, with two primary school children and without the daily dose of a blue newsroom, I can only just about manage a “bloody”.
And that seems to have stopped being considered a swearword. It was in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, twice.
On its first outing, in the mouth of Ron Weasley, Hannah looked at me with her hand over her mouth, but the second time it passed her by.
Ben didn’t even react the first time.
I even feel slightly guilty when I say fart, but that’s been on Newsround in a story about cows and their effect on the ozone layer.
If John Craven were dead, he’d be turning in his grave.
But as he’s alive and well, I hope we’ll soon see him on a “Damn TV is Dumbing Down” type programme, produced by the Mary Whitehouse Appreciation Society, muttering “wind” and “fluff” and “bottom burp” to himself in disgust.