there but for...
I was reading an online journal this morning and the writer used the phrase "riding the short bus" to describe herself humorously as someone seeming to have a mental incapacity. It's like the term "a few bricks short of a load" or "a few cans short of a six-pack." I'm neither a bricklayer nor a beer distributor, so I get no real emotional impact when I run across those last two phrases. But I do get a little punch in the gut with the "short bus" comment. I guess it's because the short bus stops in front of my house every morning.
Another journaler has written a few times about his desire to revive the word "retard" from its recent slumber in the lexicon. And every time I read it or hear it I feel that same little punch.
Now, certainly, it's not my wish to keep them from using any terminology, and I know I am perfectly free to not read the words they write. It is attractive to be facile with words. Employing metaphors that conjure clear mental pictures can put a real snap in one's writing. In fact, by virtue of their use of these terms, these writers have achieved that snap for me. Something comes through loud and clear.
Bully for them, I guess is the phrase that freedom begs here.
Expression, when one has an entire language at one's disposal, will always have a revelatory and reciprocal effect, writer and reader bringing their own experience and/or ignorance to the table. So I'm not hurt so much as I'm informed, and I am reminded of the power of language once again.
But hey, they were just trying to be funny, the banana peel thing -- whoops... crash. Whoops crash is funny, you know, we've all been there.
Been on the retard bus lately? Or put your kid on it? The death of dreams has a way of not being funny no matter how hard one tries. Believe me, I've tried.
To see a small child struggle and smile through it, climb steps after years of doubt and hope... well, let me just say the short bus is the best damn bus out there.
It's a picture that snaps into memory easily upon reading the words of these journalers. For now I'll just keep reminding myself that what they say is nothing personal.
Wisdom of the Day:
"Happy that man whose children make his happiness in life and not his grief."
- Euripides, Orestes