I was once equated to a rectal orifice, of, the person said, the condescending kind, yet with my brain smoking I have still not been able to get a sense of the characterization. Of the physiological portion, it’s hard to envision a person who would bear a ready resemblance to the part common to humans and animals alike. To further modify it with an adjective that  leans toward a gerund is a decided reach.  More commonly you would think of size or prominence. In general use the noun stands alone, sometimes fronted with a short pronoun and considerable emphasis.

When led to utter an insulting remark I usually look for a unique word that fits the person; i.e, an offender who has raised my ire.  My intent, most often, and with a moment or two to give it some thought, is to come up with a word or words that are personalized. Suggesting that the person is partial to maternal incest — while difficult to verify — is strong, but a nearby escape route should be available.

But typically I try not to resort to name calling or simply yelling out that easiest of expressions where the victim (?) is urged in most dramatic terms to engage in self-fornication, which is simply an impossibility (would that one could). You get verb, and then the subject. Why is it that people consider that the most condemning of all, as though you would actually decline the direction? Offered in a gentle way, you might be inclined to declare a certain readiness in the presence of a willing partner.

Name calling also implies in the strongest terms an unwillingness to engage in any kind of worthwhile dialogue. Apply the verbal hit, then fly away into the ether. No guts, really. Maybe it’s just me, but I want to know the reason for the displeasure. I’m usually (but not always) in the mood to talk, even if resolution is distant.  Name calling says with volume that resolution is out of the question, and here’s a cuff to your head that adds there’s no interest, no matter what. Kids do that because they rarely have the skills to negotiate, let alone the motivation (so they think), so it’s doubly disconcerting when legal adults do the same thing.

And sadly, contrary to the counsel you picked up when you were about age six, names do hurt you. There’s an immediate sting that lasts, sometimes for years. You hope, of course, that the frequency will lessen as you get older. and generally, it does. But the bite can be deeper, with the only defense being the resurrection of the old age six disclaimer — which, frankly, is no more effective now than it was then.

Again, my response, when available, would be to push for conversation, first to dampen the heat, and then to search for rhyme and reason. I mean wouldn’t you suppose that some of the worst misunderstandings you’ve ever had have been the upshot of a quick and vicious verbal punch that escalated into a situation that nobody could stop? Where, in the end, both parties finally slapped themselves on the forehead and said, “Oh, is that what you meant?”

An effort at slow kindness and civility — minus the sharp retort — can reap benefits of huge magnitude. Because settling for the cheap shot is just too easy, and should be well beneath us. You have to wonder at people who will just leave it at that. It sure never did me any good.

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