Berger’s Burg: Americans pull out ahead for Kings of Cursing title

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Why don’t you bore a hole in yourself and let the sap run out? — Groucho Marx

When I was a child, I lived in a multi-ethnic neighborhood. I never understood the foreign languages spoken, but soon discovered some of the words sputtered by angry residents were not love odes to a sweetheart.

Your mother should have thrown you away and kept the stork. — Mae West

I remember hearing my mother of eight, a prim and proper lady, mumble under her breath, “A finster klippity kloppen en dray-it” during stressful periods. I still do not know what that means, but am certain it was not “Please pass the peas.”

You must be a twin because one man cannot be so dumb.

I was intrigued by these devilish remarks that escaped from the lips of exasperated individuals and decided to conduct a scientific investigation investigating this irascible phenomenon. Through extensive research, I came across a study by Dr. Patrick Fitzpatrick, who received a summa cum laude degree in cursology, with a minor in insultation, from Sameto U. He has devoted most of his life assembling the gems of verbal abuse in more than 200 languages.

I feel so miserable without you — it is almost like having you here.

“Cursing and name-calling have always existed in all cultures throughout the world,” the good doctor wrote. He concluded that some of the cleverest insults appear to be of Yiddish origin, such as: “May you grow like an onion with your head in the ground and your feet in the air.” “They are the sultans of insults.”

With a nose like yours, you should be forced to carry a weapons permit.

Italian barbs were deemed second: “May your blood turn to whiskey so that a thousand bedbugs get drunk and dance the Tarantella in your bellybutton”; the Hungarians third: “May your house have a thousand rooms and the rooms have a thousand beds and may cholera throw you from bed to bed”; and the Polish fourth: “May your clock run slow, your heart run fast, your bile run over, your wife run away and your nose run always.”

May all your teeth fall out except the tooth that aches.

Professor Watzit Toyu, another scholar in the field of cursology, angrily disagrees.“@#$%,” he growled. “The tribes of West Africa should be sultans — ‘You smell like the armpits of an elephant’ — and Arabia rank second — ‘May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your crotch and your arms be too short to scratch.’ I rest my case.”

Guys, no cursing now.

Americans were voted 167th in both surveys because they were more prone to simply use the four-letter word. Accepting this challenge to American pride, I took to the road to interview Americans living in TimesLedger country. Their names have been changed to protect the guilty.

F. from Astoria: I wish you everything you wish me, and everything you wish you wished me after I am through wishing you.

W. from Corona: May you be turned into a chicken and the soup made from your bones used to cure your worst enemy.

C. from Floral Park: There is nothing wrong with you that reincarnation will not cure.

L. from Bayside: You are a kind man — the kind that April Fool’s Day was named after.

Q. from Little Neck: May you always have more than your enemies — a seven-year itch that lasts 14, a 24-hour flu that lasts six weeks and a larger hernia, fatter goiter, riper cataract and rounder carbuncle.

M. from Flushing: You leave a bad taste in people’s eyes.

Z. from Jamaica: May the whole Atlantic Ocean become your enema.

H. from Laurelton: May you live to be 120 years old and the last voice you hear be your mother-in-law’s.

B. from Howard Beach: May you have the nicest neighbors in Siberia.

D. from Ridgewood: May you be a good liar with a poor memory.

V. from Queens Village: If you were as tall as you are stupid, you would have to sleep in a bowling alley.

Professors, these insults prove Americans are truly the only “sultans of insults.”

As a classicist in lewd and crude nasty words, I conclude a curse is nothing more than a kiss in reverse. Still, I would never lower myself to verbally attack anyone who besmirched, soiled or sullied my reputation, no matter how hurtful the remarks were.

Excuse me, readers, while I open this letter I just received: “I came across your column in the newspaper today. I will waste no time reading it.”

That dastardly @#$%.

Reach Alex Berger at

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