My New Swear Word

Pixabay: ponce_photography. Free for commercial use; no attribution required

I have a new swear word.

Actually, it’s less a swear word and more a cheery way to acknowledge a minor mishap.

The word was born in the kitchen, while scooping quinoa out of a bag and into a pan. No matter how careful Bubba and I were, grains of quinoa always leapt from the measuring cup onto the counter.

Have you ever found yourself muttering under your breath about being clumsy, careless, stupid over something minor? Over something you’d never criticize a child for?

Well, when the quinoa fell, our voices muttered.

Some things are habitual; tracks laid down years ago and reaffirmed so often they’re solidly etched into being automatic.  Bubba and I have a few of those tracks; we work at counterbalancing their automaticity with more intentional responses. Sometimes we find something that works and is fun.

It was in the kitchen, with quinoa falling and voices muttering, that we found our counterbalancing tool: the quinoa itself.

Quinoa, when spoken, sounds like keen-wa. Which is quite fun to say, especially if you elongate the vowels.

Now when the quinoa falls, we call out keeeen-waaaa! with a cheery voice; it’s so much easier to feel upbeat when the music is soaring. It’s become our way of simply recognizing what is—the quinoa is going to leap—rather than responding as if it shouldn’t be doing what it’s doing.

It’s been so effective at quieting our spilled-quinoa-muttering-minds, we now use it regularly, in all sorts of situations. Because, at least in our house, life serves up plenty of spills, drops, tumbles and minor mishaps.

Spilled milk?



Photo source: ponce_photography on Pixabay


5 thoughts on “My New Swear Word

  1. Bobbi Taylor

    Clever! And timely as David and I are trying to clean up our expletives around our lovely daughters-in-law and our new (or soon-to-be) grandchildren. Would help, however if the word started with the “sh” sound as the word that seems to be what we have ingrained starts with that. That’s why I’ll often say “sugar plum fairy.” Don’t think I’ll ever catch David saying that, however!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve NO idea why “sugar plum fairy” isn’t David’s new “go-to” word 😜. It would be fun to play around with real or made-up words until something with the “sh” sound strikes your fancy. Sheee-ite! A new game!

      I realized after reading your comment that using keeen-waaa is more than just a swear word. Because of the tone with which I say it, the annoyance I usually feel when I actually swear isn’t there. Tonality is a huge part of it. When I say it, it just feels like a way of verbally acknowledging that something happened I didn’t want to happen, it wasn’t a big deal, I note it, let it go, and get on with cleaning up. The Judge doesn’t even show up to “blame” me for spilling/dropping it in the first place. Wayyyyy more pleasant!!!


  2. Pingback: Lessons in a Puzzle – Walk the Goats

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