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June 27, 2002

Crap!

It was sixth grade when I first got in trouble for saying crap. But then I got in trouble for just about everything that year. The teacher, a Mrs. Barnes, happened to have had my older brother the year before and never bothered to call my parents when his grades began to slip. I was there when my mom went to pick up the report card so I witnessed the tongue lashing my mother gave Mrs. Barnes for not bothering to let her know. I had the misfortune of having the same teacher and she took delight in exacting revenge on me. Any and every rule became a capital offense once broken by me, regardless of how many students had previously disregarded it. So when I said that "horrible, awful" word, crap, she lowered the boom. 

Crap happened to be one of my mother's favorite words when annoyed, so when she found out I'd been punished for saying it, she was embarrassed (not that I ever gave Mrs. Barnes the satisfaction of knowing that). Mom didn't want to encourage me to say bad things, but also didn't want to look hypocritical since she used the word a lot. Ever since then I've taken extra care to use the word as frequently as possible. Which annoys my wife, since she's of the opinion that the word is a "bad" word.

Now the history of the word in innocuous enough. The general urban legend is that Thomas Crapper invented the ceramic, flushable toilet, but according to snopes.com he didn't, but did manufacture quite a few. That would seem to lend credibility to the argument that the placement of his name on so many of them caused people to mistake it for the name of the device, or what the device was used for. So as a substitute for the "S" word, it seems to work well, especially for those of us who find the "S" word too vulgar for everyday speech.

But when I do use the word, my wife nags me. She tries laying a guilt trip on me about setting an example for the kids, blah, blah, blah.

So there I was last week, getting ready for church, listening to Billy Graham's radio program (via RadioJesus.com. Hey it's my site, I can plug it.) and there was some doctor on the program, giving his testimony. He said something about, "people will say that, [something, something, something] but that's a bunch of crap!"  I thought, "Did he just say crap? He did, some guy on Billy Graham's radio program just said crap!!" I rushed in to the bedroom where the program was playing and shouted, "See!! See!! They said it on Billy Graham! It can't be a bad word!" My wife actually hadn't woke up yet, so she leaped up all confused and frightened thinking something was wrong, shouting "WHAT!! WHAT!! WHAT!!!" She stared at me with that blank frightened look that means she's awake enough to be frantic, but not enough to understand what's going on. I realized trying to explain it then would be a waste of time, so I told her to go back to bed, something she had no problem doing. I did explain it to her later and she frowned but couldn't argue that a word someone on Billy Graham's radio show used could be considered a bad word. I'd won the battle.

And now, more validation. After an obvious hoax story about George Bush and Brazilian President Cardoso has been tossed around Europe for the past few months, the White House was asked about it. Their official response -- the story is "total crap." Are you listening Mrs. Barnes? They said CRAP! Nyah.

Comments

Posted by Jack Lewis at June 27, 2002 12:05 AM