Friday, June 18, 2010


Have a big thing against people using disparaging remarks to each other, period, but when it involves insulting intelligence, I pretty much come unglued.

Was sitting somewhere recently where I did not have the luxury of leaving. Heard someone call another coworker the “s” word, twice.  The co-worker could hear, not that being out of earshot makes it any less wrong. At that point I butted in, “Hey,” I said, “you can go ahead and be as grumpy as you want, we all get grumpy, but you cannot be unkind.” After that the offender became noticeably nicer, but I’m not sure he really “got” it.

Not sure it’s my place in the world to point out when other people are being unkind, but can’t really help myself. The problem, however, is the fact that it’s socially acceptable to do so.

Was standing in line to get coffee recently and the barista used the “r” word. My defense is I didn’t want to lose my place in line to go up there and reprimand her, and was too far back and didn’t think yelling was a great idea, either. Problem is, I’m pretty sure fear is what was really holding me back. Didn’t want to cause a scene. Didn’t want to embarrass myself or anyone else. Didn’t want to look like the one coming unhinged. Wouldn’t make a big impact if everyone thought, oh, don’t mind her, she’s nuts.

Attended an eighth grade graduation and a high school representative was there to bestow some awards. “This is for the brightest and the best,” she said. My hackles went up. Don’t get me wrong, the kids receiving the awards totally deserved them, and indeed, are very bright, and are the “best” at many things. But the best? Best what?

But how in God’s green earth are we ever going to change the mores to reflect respect for others? ALL others?

Told my husband the other day that he is forever saying “there’s” when what he means is “there are.” Bugs me.

“What does it matter?” he asked.

“It matters because we’ve become sloppy in how we speak to and about each other. We aren’t making conscious word choices. We must be thinking about what we say, before we say it.”

“You’re right,” he said, uttering my two most very favorite words.

And as happy as those words make me, I can’t bear the thought of my son living in a society where it’s okay to call him “s” or a “r,” to his face, behind his back.

Or anywhere.


Carrie can be found at




  1. Hmmmm--you always make me think. I need think more about the words I speak. It reminds me of the Buddha's entreaty for "right speech."

  2. I so agree with this. Language shapes thought. And kindness creates civility.

  3. I too have such trouble with this - hearing my co-workers call themselves "r" when they make a mistake. I have voiced my opinion about this matter before. Did they think I was joking? That's probably it. That word is just a joke to so many that they don't realize how hurtful it really is.