I will admit that I use this word on occasion. I’m not proud of it. It has slipped into my lexicon in spite of years of training by my mother and grandmother that it is not appropriate. This is amusing because in Louisiana, the America side from which my roots grew, bad words are endemic. I remember a story about one of my cousins at the tender age of four asking the family to pass the damn peas please at the dinner table. The punch line was that he added the “please”.
I often wondered where this word originated and why the use of the word was a “curse”. If in fact it means to have sex, make love, get it on or any of those, it ought to be a pleasant thing to suggest to people. After researching the origins of the word I found out it probably did not come from Fornication Under Consent of the King. Nor did it arise from For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge as a sign hung about the necks or on the top of the stocks when folks were punished for such behavior. No, it probably evolved from Germanic roots, maybe Dutch fokken (copulate). Whatever, it still doesn’t seem like an awful thing to wish on someone.
I think a better F_ _ _ K as a curse word was used frequently in Battlestar Galactica. If you haven’t watched this particular sci-fi, it’s about a time when human beings live on spaceships cruising the galaxies looking for earth (part of their mythology) while being chased by a race of machine constructed beings. The “curse’ word is FRACK! The term is used like this. “What the frack are you thinking?” or “you are fracking crazy” or just plain old “Frack you”.
Let us consider the word FRACK and you will see that this could really be an unpleasant thing to wish on someone. Fracking or hydraulic fracturing is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas. Over 600 chemicals and a lot of water make up the fluid injection. Some of the chemicals are known carcinogens at worst and just plain toxic at best.
The estimate of water used per well is staggering, running between 1 and 8 million gallons! You have to get the water to the site and that requires an estimated 400 tanker trucks. That’s a lot of diesel! Then we have an estimated 40,000 gallons of chemicals per fracture. Currently there are 500,000 wells. Each can be fracked eighteen (18) times. That amounts to 72 trillion gallons of water and 360 billion gallons of chemicals needed to run our current gas wells. (http://www.dangersoffracking.com/).
Remember all of this is forced at very high pressure into the shale until fracturing takes place and natural gas is displaced. I think telling someone to get fracked is as good an insult as anyone could construct. It would suggest having high pressure fluids, toxic and carcinogenic, forced into bodily cracks until gas is displaced. Wow that’s way past G.I. prep for a colonoscopy or a trip to the gynecologist.
We’re doing it to the earth. I know I will get comments from folks who say we need the gas. It’s better than coal. I will be forced to agree with those who say fracking is better than coal burning plants. There is NO SUCH THING AS CLEAN COAL. The coal industry has been touting clean coal for a long time, hence the ad from 1921 as the feature of this blog. It hasn’t been produced yet. The advertisements and public relations around “clean coal” are twin to low tar and low nicotine cigarettes. What a joke that is. You can still get lung cancer. It will just take a little longer.
The jury may still be out on fracking. There is dramatic video footage of water from taps ablaze because of the methane content polluting water near fracking wells. Recently The Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project has been processing and examining claims of sickness or illnesses residents in Washington County Pennsylvania are associating with fracking. Complaints ranged from skin eruptions to headaches, breathing difficulties, dizziness, and a host of other problems. Surprisingly the closest association has been with the airborne pollution. Nonetheless this study is the first one of other planned investigations into the safety or lack thereof of fracking and associated illness in animal life (BTW humans are animals).
There are other concerns as well as to what fracking will or can do to the earth itself but that’s another story. In the meantime here’s hoping you don’t get fracked.