For Christmas Grandma gave B a boatload of Calico Critters for her dollhouse. They are so cute, with 14,000 tiny pieces: chairs, tables, a wood fireplace, plates, cups, even a little bar of soap. Apparently she should have included a jackhammer, because getting them out of the box was almost impossible.
“This packaging is so retarded!”
And I feel my stomach sink into my shoes. I can’t believe I just said that.
Rumor has it, I’m not perfect. But still, I should know better.
It is a habit, a pop culture reflex that most of us has picked up over the years. But of all people, I should know better.
There is a big push these days to ban the “r” word. Youtube videos, T.V. commercials and celebrity endorsements have made this a trendy topic to support. For me it’s personal.
In some circles it has become the true measure of evil. And although I’m certain that the torture and slaughter of small, woodland creatures factors in there somewhere, I get it. I really do.
“Don’t be a retard!”
“I am SO a retarded!”
“The instructions for my new Ikea shelf are retarded.”
I am not easily offended, but I cringe every time I hear it. It feels like a casual slap on the face. Even worse, on my daughter’s face.
To my husband, it is exactly the same as using her name as an insult. He is even harder to offend than I, but be warned: If you say this in his presence, you will get it!
“It” being a stoney silence and angry, angry thoughts. He is not a confrontational man.
My daughter works 10 times harder than the rest of us to communicate, to learn and to find new places to hide things (her nickname is the Destroyer). But she still has time to entertain, charm and amaze us every day. Not only is she fun and affectionate, but she has an iron will and refuses to be left behind. She deserves respect and admiration, not to be the punch line of a joke or a derogatory descriptor.
When I’ve finally worked up the courage to speak up about it, it is with great understanding. Okay, fine, it is with a passive aggressive move, like, say, writing a blog about it. I can certainly understand that it may slip out from time to time. As much as I may want to take offenders out back and “educate” them, instead I will simply say that it hurts me and my family, every time.
My daughter, and amazing men and women like her, are an inspiration, not an insult. So this is one habit I intend to crush with extreme prejudice. If I have to wash my own mouth out with soap… so be it.
So here’s me, wondering if my use of the word “doofus” is disrespectful to losers everywhere?
The “R” Word Part 2 is now up. I originally titled it: In Defense of the “R” Word, but my husband hated that. Confused? It all makes sense, I swear.