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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Don't Box Me In!

I'm back from "the ledge," but we'll see if my blood pressure thinks so. I get it checked again tomorrow after registering 186 last week. A little chainsaw therapy helped this weekend. I was apparently really into what I was doing as I had no idea that Dear Husband took several pictures of me in the act.

As I've described in the past, I like to run the chainsaw and the big ass lawnmower. I also like to drive my Grandpa's 1967 Chevy pickup around our property. It is in its original condition and it has a standard transmission and groans and whines and lurches as we go. Recently, the entire family crammed into the cab--Dear Husband, the two wee ones, and I took the wheel. The kids and I giggled ourselves into tears as we lurched the entire drive to the edge of the woods. Dear Husband was not amused, so I remind him that it was his idea to let me drive.

It turns out that I'm not a very refined person. Yes, I have an advanced degree. Yes, I work a in a very skilled profession. Furthermore I consider myself to be a Christian, but I refuse to be pious. I hate to be stereotyped or shoved in a box, and this may contribute to why I am the way I am.

While I am not one to cuss, I apparently use a few words and phrases that tend to offend some. Personally, I am amused that the things I say would offend given that the "f word" is not a part of my routine vernacular, and other than that the most colorful I get would be an occasional "damn" or "shit" if I'm really tweaked about something. It certainly isn't every day and prolly not even once a month that one of those words slips my tongue. However, I have been known to utter words like "ass" (which I didn't even know was a cuss word) or "crap," or phrases like "pissed off!" which I also didn't know some people loosely categorize as cussing.

I learned that some consider "ass" as a cuss word when I was teaching freshman / sophomore psychology at the local Christian University as an adjunct professor several years ago. A student complained on their evaluation form at the end of the term that I cussed in class. I was thoroughly puzzled until I finally remembered a particular lecture that included a real life example of a child I was seeing for therapy whose father was a pedophile and who had sexually abused this child. I made some comment regarding the formal questioning of this creep in determining if he were guilty or not of the crime. I think the comment was something like, "What I really wanted to do was nail his ass to the wall!" What's the big deal? He's a pedophile! I think "ass" is a pretty mild reference to make! Nonetheless, I took the initiative to discuss the incident with my department chair, who never questioned me at all and who simply suggested that some would consider "ass" crude vernacular but that is also dependent on which part of the country you live in (he is a social psychologist). I was never chastised for it, and I continued to be asked back to teach. I also continued casual use of the word "ass"--just not in my classes anymore.

A couple weeks ago I had two teachers in my daughter's homeschool co-op class report to me that my darling daughter had gotten angry with the boys in her class that would not share toys with her and said something like, "These boys are just really pissing me off!" Yes, it's a Christian co-op, but I honestly didn't think this was such a big deal. I guess I don't think saying or even being "pissed off" is "un-Christian," and if it is, you better just count me out now. Don't forget how Jesus threw over the tables of the moneychangers in the synagogue. I think it is fair to say He was a little pissed off!

At any rate, my daughter was asked to use better words to express her feelings, and she rephrased it as, "I'm am feeling really frustrated with these boys!" Okay, I agree, the second option is a bit more classy and mature. Whatever.

I dare say that I also don't find "crap" that offensive. My casual use of this word was also reflected the other day when I was excited over my idea to teach my children to make paper hats. I thought this would be fun, and so I looked up a quick how-to online and found instructions complete with step by step photos. Dear Daughter couldn't wait to see the pics I pulled up on the computer, so I left her to study them while I headed to the wood pile to gather some fuel to stoke up the fire before we got started on the hat project. Dear Daughter met me at the back door where I was heading back in with my arms full of wood. Her face was a bit long as she stated that these hats were not what she was expecting. I asked her what she was expecting, and she replied, "Well, it's just that these hats are going to look like crap!" Apparently I should have asked her to rephrase how she felt about this, but instead I just busted up laughing.

In summary, I've been really pissed off at how the election went, and I think we're in for a heap of crap the next four years. However, dwelling on this concept while trying to deal with numerous other stressors in my life right now is only raising my blood pressure. So I decided to work my ass off today to vent some steam.

6 comments:

Ed (zoesdad) said...

Excellent use of your words.

And while I agree that those words are not necessarily cuss words I try to refrain from using them around my kids---who think, BTW, that stupid is a bad word.

MGM said...

Ed,
That's because you are really a saint disguised as a Stay at Home Dad!

If my daughter had said "F--- you!" to her peers at school, then I would be concerned (and surprised) as we certainly do not talk like this at our house.

An infrequent exclamation of feeling "pissed off" or something looking like "crap" just doesn't concern me when 99.9% of the time she has a strong descriptive use of language to describe her feelings and circumstances devoid of such expressions.

JBlank said...

I have been a long time lurker and finally decided to comment. I agree about the language usage. I cringe everytime I hear the words sex and sexy on the radio and tv, but you can't say crap. Please. I also agree with your un-popular opinion, mostly I mean I am a different person and all. It was the post that got me to comment. I agree with you often. We have some things in common that just suprise me. Our kids are nearly the same age, although mine are boy then girl. I have a M.A. in psychology, but general/theoretical not clinical. I long for more of the country life but would not run a chain saw, if my life depended on it (I just don't have the concentration it takes). Anyway, my point is that you are not alone in your un-popular opinion. You have to guess that it is like a high school popularity contest when everyone is spouting off the same things about Obama saving us all, very groupthink. Sorry for such a long comment, keep on blogging!
Jo Lynn

Riahli said...

I'm glad you were able to vent some steam, I hope you are feeling better for the moment. Yard work and gardening alway help me feel better when I am having a hard time, or long walks(alone), but those are rare these days! As for choice words, my oldest son very innocently asked me the other day when I was getting a little worked up, "are you pissed off mommy?" Um yeah, that was a shocker, didn't even realize that I said that often enough for him to pick up on!

MGM said...

jblank,

thanks for de-lurking and commenting. glad to have you (and your opinion) here. come back often and comment while you're here!

Riahli,

Sometimes all it takes is once (I know from experience!)

CaraBee said...

Yard work doesn't really cool me off, perhaps I should look into a chainsaw, because that sounds relaxing. My mother cursed like a sailor, still does, and my sister and I both rebelled by almost never cursing. I think it is less about the word, because come on, its just a word, than it is the intent. My mother used those words as colorful adjectives, rarely as tools for abuse. I would never say eff you, but I might say our government is all f-ed up.