Schadenfreude… and Randomness

I hate to admit it but I really do delight in the misfortune of others – particularly those who have done something to me which I perceive as unjust. I guess it would have been better to have laughed about it at the time but since I didn’t know about it until today I couldn’t laugh about it until today. So laugh about it today I will do.

In other news, I have come to a point in my life where I’m going to have to decide what kind of angle I’d like to take with this blog. Will it be family-friendly or is it something that I’d really prefer only adults with a little bit of a thick skin to read? On one hand I find myself still amused by things I see on Texts From Last Night and want to share them with my readers and my college friends and roommates – most of whom have little interest in laughing about stupid stuff that happened ten years ago because they’re now married and have kids and the things that happened a decade ago that were once funny are now taboo subjects. Like this:

It was a sobriety test blowjob. If he could get it up, he could get me home.

I read this and instantly thought it sounded just like something one of my friends would have said to me back in 1997. Like, as in one specific friend who would have said this exact sentence to me while we were up at City Grocery having drinks the next afternoon and laughing about the night before. I was so tempted to copy it and send it to her and then I was like, “Oh yeah, it’s not 1997 anymore and she probably wouldn’t think that was funny, especially since she’s been married for like ten years or something. I bet her husband would find it particularly not funny and then he wouldn’t like me anymore. Well crap.” And then I’m left not being able to share it with anyone other than using it as an illustration of what I’d like to do but can’t do anymore because somewhere along the way life has kinda passed me by and Texts From Last Night shouldn’t even be funny anymore to me but it is and I can’t rightfully explain why.

I first noticed that I cared about such things last summer when I was scanning and posting pictures from high school and college. I took special care and made sure to omit any photographs of people holding alcohol and/or cigarettes (or at least crop out the booze and smokes) because most of them have families now and most of them also don’t want their spouses/kids/parents to see pictures of them doing what almost every other kid was doing at that age. I wouldn’t say they want to erase the past (well, some of them do and that’s their business and I respect it) but most of them do want to whitewash it a bit.

The problem comes about for me in that I have great stories to tell and most of those stories involve people involved in situations that they may not like to be associated with.

Then there’s the whole thing with using bad language. It’s a well known fact that I’m a Southern girl who can and does cuss like a sailor at times. I try not to do it out in the open like I did when I was in college because, honestly, I don’t want to be dropping a bad word and some poor grandma or a child hear me and break into tears. When those dogs were yapping at 5:30 a.m. I wanted to scream at them “SHUT THE EVERLIVING *&(^% UP!” but what I really said was, “Guys, hush!” in a stern voice because I wanted to be respectful of the people living around me. (side note: even the tamed-down version got me evicted) However, I really don’t feel so much like I want to do this in my writing. I mean, I certainly hope that the average 8 year-old who’s surfing the internet doesn’t just stumble onto my blog and read curse words but my friendly little stat-o-meter tells me that the search words that lead most people to my blog are “sea monkeys” and that the average 8 year-old might not expect to stumble onto my blog by typing “sea monkeys” into Google.

Do I censor myself in the anticipation that there are people out there who might want to read a G blog only to find that it’s more like PG-13? I mean, yes, I can tell a nice story about John Denver’s “Country Roads” without dropping an f-bomb but at some point in time I’m going to end up telling a story about an ex-boyfriend or something else that makes me literally cringe and it’s fair to say that some “not-so-nice” language is probably going to slip out in my writing. Yes, I can say that someone is a fool but if I say they’re a damned fool then it really gets the point across. I guess you could say that I curse for emphasis. Emphasis gets the point across.

I’ll tell you who’s not getting the point across very well though – Honda. While watching The Amazing Race last night I saw two commercials for the new Civic featuring superheroes and monsters and possibly a ballerina as well. The end card said, “To Each Their Own.” I’m sorry, but did nobody notice that the words “each” and “their” do not go together? “Each” implies a singular thing and “their” implies plural. But in the days of politically correct bullshit (see, I told you it was bound to happen when I needed to curse for emphasis) we’re no longer allowed to say “To each his own,” or “To each her own,” because by specifying only one sex we have glaringly omitted the other. I’m sorry, but I am just not so overly sensitive that I would read “To each his own” and infer that this would not also mean “her” own because it’s 2011 and women are not only allowed to drive cars but they can also purchase them and even register them in their own names. Yay, progress!

One of the most horrifying moments of my return to college was being told in a business communications class that it was not only appropriate but expected that a writer would use “s/he” in proper business communications. Like, use it just like that with the slash in it to indicate that not only are men allowed to so something, but women may do it as well (but only as a marginal forethought as the women are only allowed to participate with 1/3 of the correct pronoun). I’m sorry but I’m not going to stray from the standard male pronouns that I was taught to use when I was in grade school because when I read the sentence “If an employee needs to request time off, s/he should do so in writing at least a week before the anticipated absence from work,” I cringe. It looks bad. It sounds bad. In my head I read “s/he” and my mind thinks out “Shu-hee.” C’mon ladies, stand with me if you’re against this butchery of the English language! I don’t want to share a pronoun with a man at work any more than I want to share a bathroom with one. I suppose that makes me an anti-feminist. Whatever. I just hope I don’t have to hear any femminazis talk about having spashdown in the “bothroom” because some guy forgot to put the seat back down. I’d laugh because that would indeed be Schadenfreude.

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7 Responses to Schadenfreude… and Randomness

  1. Chad says:

    As someone with a communications degree, and someone who has worked at a Fortune 500 in an internal communications post, I admit that I have used the s/he.

    I didn’t want to. My boss didn’t want to. The ultra liberal/feminist/thrice divorced Senior VP of human resources made me. So in a way, your professor is right. The business communications world isn’t quite on board, but the higher ups are so afraid of offending anyone.

    Case in point. I was the editor/designer of a weekly employee newsletter. When I started, it was a back and front 8.5 x 11 Microsoft Publisher piece that went out once every 2-3 weeks. When I left, I had turned it into an 8-12 page weekly that resembled a magazine.

    The company I worked for had a 10 percent Spanish speaking workforce. One person went to the CEO and requested that the above piece be translated to espanol. The CEO said sure without even asking how it would affect my little department – pushing up deadlines, increasing expense, and having to find an outside vendor that could not only translate but effectively use Photoshop and InDesign. But the change was made, it was successfully implemented, and everyone was happy.

    Until the 2% of the workforce who spoke Arabic decided to complain with much more vigor. Arabic reads from right to left – that affects the entire layout of the newsletter. So in a matter of a month we went from a midnight Thursday deadline to a 9 a.m. Wednesday deadline. And then guess what happened? The newsletter seemed “a little dated.”

    • CMM says:

      I mean, I understand it from a legal standpoint. Maybe if the above memo read “If an employee needs to request time off, he should do so in writing at least a week before the anticipated absence from work,” then a woman would think she was exempt from having to turn in a written notice. She’d just take the day off and not worry about letting anyone know why she didn’t show up that day. And then when she got fired for not following protocol she could claim that the memo only specified that males should turn in time off requests in writing ahead of time.

      I understand it. I just don’t like it. The English major in me will never like it in spite of getting over my aversion to starting a sentence with the word “and.” If Pat Conroy can start a sentence with the word “and” then I can too because I’m trying to be literary… or something like that.

  2. Ashley says:

    Hahahahahahahaha, sobriety test bj is hysterical!
    I vote for a thick-skinned adult blog, darling.

  3. shawn says:

    My vote is for thick-skinned adults also.

  4. Siyabonga says:

    It’s your blog, if you want to curse like a drunken sailor during Fleet Week then do so. I say this as a person who is hardly offended by anything. 🙂

    Oh and I am so going to use that excuse that I didn’t do something at work because the rule was directed at “he” instead of “s/he.” HA!

  5. Danielle says:

    I think its your blog and you do what you want!!!! As for the “s/he” I don’t like the way it looks, but things like that bother me.

  6. Em says:

    I think we all wonder how far to go with our blogging. I read back on past entries on my blog and think, “man I used to write A LOT”. Times have changed since I first started blogging, more people have access to it, it seems more permanent, employers now actively seek out information on you (will this be used against me in the future?) etc. It just seems like there is no where to just go and release everything you are feeling. There is always a pair of eyes waiting to judge or use your words in ways you may not want them too. The internet world and “Netiquette” is a complicated place.

    Also, “s/he” is totally annoying.

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