Just in case there might be little ears around,
I won’t say it, I’ll just spell it out -
I feel like pound-sign, question mark, star, exclamation point,
Don’t give a blank, and a whole lot of other choice words I can’t say -
Today I feel like pound-sign, question mark, star, exclamation point.
As far as I know, Kevin Fowler isn't related to the brothers Henry Watson Fowler and Francis Fowler, authors of Fowler's Modern English Usage. But he clearly has a well-developed sense of linguistic propriety, as well as the nimble wit characteristic of both country song writers and usage mavens.
This happens to be the fifth anniversary of the first LL post to discuss cartoon cussing (“You taught me language, and my profit on’t / Is, I know how to curse”, 7/17/2005). In the FoxTrot strip that I cited five years ago, Peter complains that "comic strip curse words leave something to be desired":
And I've always agreed with him. But after listening to Pound Sign a few times, I'm starting to warm up to "pound sign, question mark, star, exclamation point" as a way to express pain, anger, frustration, or annoyance.
[Other relevant LL posts include "Call me... unpronounceable", 9/6/2005; "Beetle Bailey goes positively meta", 6/22/2006; "More @!%!**#~@#!! wisdom from Beetle Bailey", 6/23/2006; "Everybody's going meta", 6/23/2006; "Obscenicons in the workplace", 8/24/2006; "2500 words for cursing the weather", 1/18/2007; "Reading the ampersand comics!", 3/21/2008; "Spiral thingy lightning bolt!", 3/20/2008;"A little more on obscenicons", 3/23/08; "Seven words you can't say in a cartoon", 7/4/08"; "Comic profanity", 4/26/2009.
And here's a historical puzzle. In "The earliest typographically bleeped F-word?", 6/15/2006, a tip from Mark Matienzo traced the "F___" type of typographical bleeping back to 1698. What was the earliest use of mixed typographical symbols (as opposed to uniform asterisks or underlining) to represent (part or all of) taboo words?]