"Sticks and stones will break my bones,
but names will never hurt me."
I think this little ditty was made up by a mother who had to deal one too many times with a crying toddler who had been teased at the playground. It sounds good on paper, or coming out of a loving Mom's mouth, but in reality it is "ca ca." It has been my experience that broken bones mend in about 6 weeks. A child's psyche, on the other hand, can stay bruised for years. I don't remember much my older sister said nice to me. Yet I remember well being called "Toothpick" "Stringbean" and "Spider Legs." Oh sure, today I'd love for someone to call me by those skinny person monikers, but it isn't going to happen. These days I'm often reminded by someone who who should know better, about the size of my rear end.
Name calling just to be mean and nasty is just that -mean and nasty. I'm not sure why but for some reason people take a ghoulish delight sometimes in being nasty. And when one is good and angry - you know that red hot anger when steam starts coming out of your ears - calling the object of that anger by a name accented with four letter expletives is downright therapeutic. Not real grown up, but helpful.
I was just reading my list of blogs. I like to go to one, then branch out from commenter to commenter. I always find something of interest to keep me entertained. One of my first stops today was Fire Byrd's site. (http://byrdonfire.blogspot.com/) On Friday she wrote about a little run in she'd had with an insurance agent. Having recently been treated for breast cancer, the GUY on the other end of the phone seems to think she'll be an insurance risk long after her doctors have pronounced her cured.
While there are, I'm sure, kind and courteous people who work for insurance companies, this chap was not one of them. I understand that insurance companies are in the business of making money at a sick person's expense (pun intended!). Still you'd think the people they hire to handle the phones would at least be polite when they are sticking it to a customer. Most of the time I try to be tolerant of people who have to talk on the phone for a living. It can't be easy even if they get to wear one of those fancy little earpiece/microphone thingees. I do, however, draw the line at gentility when talking to an insurance rep. I think you have to go in with your dukes raised or they will mop the floor with you.
Here's what I loved about "Byrdie's" post and the 22 comments followed. To start off with, Byrd called the guy on the phone a "mindless spotty oik." I'm not sure what that is, but I think it has quite a ring to it. In fact, I know a few people I'd like to try it on! Many of FireByrd's followers, all friends and loving supporters that I've noticed is a common characteristic of blog watchers, came through with cyberhugs, advice, and more name calling. Each name, I think, is better than the last: little shit, bastard, wanker, and my favorite "fuckwit." These slams all have a bit of what I might call a British edge to them, as opposed to the typical American epithet, "asshole."
Reading Byrd's blog on the heels of writing a very dignified post on anger, I am thinking she might have her emotions tamed a bit better than I do. Sometimes, it's better to just let the steam off instead of trying to intellectualize everything.
So what names do you use?