Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A word about 'RETARDED'...

"Yo, your lips are retarded."  This dude said to a friend of mine on the subway.  "Your lips are retarded."  As a compliment.

Never used the word.  Hated the word.  Never in my life would have called someone a RETARD.  I'd rather cut off my own leg.  I bend over backwards to be polictically correct - offending someone makes me squidgy.  I'm a gal who won't even joke about the Grammar Gestapo because of the connotations.   

But after hearing it as a backhanded compliment?  I fell in love with it.  So much better than 'DISGUSTIN' or 'SICK.'  I loved the way it sounded - even tasted - in my mouth as I muttered it surreptitiously under my breath.  Still, I wouldn't say it out loud.  'Cause I know it's wrong. I know not to pull that kind of shit.  There's a campaign to stop using it: Spread the Word to end the Word

And yet, a couple of weeks ago, it snuck its way into my vocabulary.  It was so tasty.   It had punch.  Bad punch, but punch.  Descriptive.  Could mean awesome, amazing or beautiful.  Could also mean stupid, idiotic, mindless.  But sounded so much better.  RE-TAR-DED.  I hated myself for even thinking it, and here I was letting it fall from my mouth.  I had to find something else that would have the punch without the pejorative.  Something that I could articulate that would sound good, sound right - give the situation its proper due - a word that could be both positive or negative depending upon the circumstance.  I needed something less lazy, something clever.  I couldn't just use STUPID - not interesting enough - plus, wouldn't I then be insulting stupid people??

"Your lips are  LUNATIC."

"Your lips are DEMENTED." 

"Your lips are UNHINGED." 

They didn't have the tastiness.  They didn't have the flavour.

"Your lips CREDENT."

"Your lips are DISTRAUGHT."

"Your lips are MOTLEY."

"That's on the SPECTRUM,"  suggested a friend.  But then I'd be pissing off autistic folks who are actually ON the Autistic Spectrum.  I'd be pissing off with pith.

"Your lips are DIAGNOSED."  DI-AG-NOSEDDIIIII-AAAAG-NOSED.  I rolled it around in my mouth for a bit.   It tasted good.  Politically Correct?  Probably not.  But until I make my way through the entire Shakespearean canon, I'm going with that. 

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