Voyager is currently disproving my theory that the Oort Cloud was put there like an electric fence by other beings to keep us horrible creatures from mucking up the rest of the cosmos like we have our own planet.
I’m retiring the “R-Word” from my repertoire of insults. The title of this piece is the last time I’ll likely use it.
It hurts a lot of people.
I only use it to hurt. It’s an insult. Therefore: I only used it on those I wanted to hurt. That ranged from “I think you’re a crappy person and you need to know I feel that way” to the far less angry “good-natured hit in the shoulder to josh with you.”
Pretty much the same rules and range as when I call someone a “shit-head”.
The difference is there is no one clinically diagnosed as a “Shit Head”. Some doctors’ bed side manner might suggest that I can’t, without research, deem that last statement completely true.
Nevertheless, in this day and age, the R word is not a valid clinical term either technically, so my old friend, the handy, easy, emotionally charged R-word has new life! I can use it again! It shouldn’t hurt innocent bystanders. I HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAY IT!
It’s the opposite of the also retired use of “gay” as a slur synonymous to “lame”. People still identify with that. It’s still active. It has to be off the table.
But, as true on paper as that rationalization may be, the reality doesn’t bear it out. And I have no business telling people how what I say should make them feel. That doesn’t even make sense.
I don’t want to hurt anyone…except when I do. And that last clause makes me the opposite of a hero in every way, I own that. But I’m human…on a good day.
I do strike out in anger, in fear, in hurt, myself. I do want to inflict a verbal wound on someone because I’m not smart enough, good enough, stable enough to try to be kind as a universal rule. I still think fighting fire with fire works sometimes (though I have a life long list of experiences that suggest it probably doesn’t). So, if I can’t force myself to be a better person at every turn, at least I can minimize the damage to the collateral.
If I can’t take solace in being a better person outright, then I can take pride in my surgical strikes of linguistics. The R word is too sloppy of s shotgun. And, when I look at the innocents that it does hurt, I’m left with this thought: that “slur” it too good for the people I verbally attack. The attendant courage, suffering, humanity, compassion and spirit that attaches to the R word tends not to identify the shit heads I might use this against as a verbal weapon.
Not only am I done with the word, but I’m sorry for all past uses of it.
Again, I’m only human. I might slip up on occasion, like a knee twitch, and I think the suffix “-tard” thrown after another word might still be a fleck of pepper in the gruel that is my hodgepodge of language, but I don’t want to use the word at large in it’s purest form.
It’s not about my rights to use the word. It’s about not wanting to hurt people you care about…even if it’s people you never met.
To clarify: I’m still a shitty person on a lot of levels, and deeply flawed, and kind of a dick. But, you know.