Today is spread the word to end the word day. It should probably be renamed to DO NOT spread the “R” word day. That kind of rolls of the tongue easier, doesn’t it?
Anyway, I was always on the fence with this one. The “R” word didn’t really bother me until freaking Ann Coulter decided to say the President was like my child. Which if we were kind we could say that she was trying to give him a compliment. I mean really, how nice for some one to try to emmulate Boo, the best hugger out there. But we do know better.
And still as much as her ignorance set me off (a kind word for swearing at the television), I have really not been that staunch an advocate. And here is why.
I’m from New England. Now I know that is not an excuse for anything other than knowing how to drive in a rotary, where to find the nearest Dunkin & Donuts, that in Somerville there are more liquor stores than streets and what mall-bang are.
In New England it is not uncommon to hear the words ‘wicked’, ‘awesome’ and ‘retarded’ without any malicious intent. And sometimes in the same sentence: Those wicked awesome Sox played retarded last night. (And by the way the “r” is silent and becomes an “h”).
But here is where I have a hard time melding where I live with who I live with. I have friends, family, co-workers use that word. I have heard Boo’s therapist (one of my favorite people) use the “R” word to describe something benign. I have asked them to find another adjective. They immediately apologized and then repeated the R word again 5 minutes later.
I “hear” the word now. Before it was an adjective, now (for me) it is like dropping an “F” bomb in front of a preschooler. And just because they might use the word, for me, is not worth losing a friendship over.
I believe in the freedom of speech. I also believe in living in a world without hurt. I am also a realist and know that those two concepts cannot live in harmony.
So the next time you say the “R” word, think of this face….
And ask if you would say that the wicked awesome Sox were playing like Boo or are you just hoping they would try as hard?
So, please just find another word. The dictionary is full of them.