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This, That, & The Other Thing March 16, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Humor, Life Balance, Mindfulness.

I’ve been reading George Carlin’s When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops with a mixture of fascination and horror.

At times, his brand of humor is too intense for my tastes, and far too focused on genitalia, but his observations about life and the euphemisms we use are so spot on that I feel compelled to keep reading.

Inspired by his forthright commentary, here are three observations on This, That, & The Other Thing:

1.  Some of you will not like THIS post.   I can live with THAT.

2.  If you want to be calm, BE CALM.  Don’t point to someone else and say, “I was calm until they said THAT, and THAT got me upset.  When people say  THAT, I can’t be calm.”

Of course you can.

You just perceive a greater benefit from being upset about THIS and worked up about THAT than from being calm at the moment.

Getting all lathered up about THIS until you’re foaming at the mouth about THAT garners attention.  And what do our Egos love?  Attention.

When you get worked up about THIS, THAT, and THE OTHER THING, you’ve decided to trade your peace of mind for attention getting.

Your life.  Your choice.

If you want to be calm . . . BE CALM.

3.  And that brings me to THE OTHER THING:  When someone says the word “retarded” (or any other word you don’t care for), you need not get your panties in a wad about it.  There is nothing intrinsically right or wrong about the word “retarded.”

Retarded is defined as “slow or limited in intellectual, emotional, or academic progress.”  It translates as slow-witted or slow to develop.

Some people are slow.  Based on my observations, a great many people are slow.  In fact, some are downright retarded ~ politicians, for example.

Quote:  It is only possible to live happily-ever-after on a moment-to-moment basis. ~  Margaret Bonnano

No rules.  Just write!

What about you?  Do you know people who routinely sacrifice their peace of mind in order to feed the ego’s desire for attention?

How often do you see people getting worked up about “nothing”?

Related posts:  “Stop Mocking Me!” * Toughen Up! *  We Can Choose NOT To Be Offended * Better Thoughts -> Better Results * You’re Full Of . . . Hubris * We Are Not The Labels We Wear * Maintaining Perspective * Someone Once Said * Island of Misfit Posts (WP Daily Prompt) * Political Correctness (WP Daily Prompt)

For two more fantastic posts on this topic, visit Kristen Lamb’s Blog:

The Disease of Self-Importance ~ Can We Find A Cure?

* Something Wicked This Way Comes & Why Writers Could Be In Great Danger


1. Maggie - March 16, 2011

People getting worked up over nothing happens all the time on the Internet. It’s amazing how much time people waste arguing over a video on YouTube or a CNN article.

nrhatch - March 16, 2011

I know! It’s amazing. “Get a life, people.”

If you don’t like a video or an article, change the channel.

Thanks, Maggie!

2. oldancestor - March 16, 2011

People are often conditioned by popular culture to be offended by words and ideas thay previously didn’t think twice about.

When I was a kid, I had stacks of toy guns and spent a lot of time running around in the trails behind our house engaging in “shootouts” with the neighborhood kids. Quite a bit of imaginary blood was spilled back there.

Full disclosure: I’ve never shot anyone and I don’t own a gun. I’ve also never robbed a store.

Flashforward to a couple of years ago when my son, when asked what toy he wanted to buy, chose a silver old-west style revolver with caps.

As soon as my mother saw it, she said, ‘I don’t know if I approve of you buying toy guns for your son.”

Er, Ma, you bought me dozens of them.

nrhatch - March 16, 2011

Thanks, OA. You are so right about the changing social mores and the increased pressure on all of us to be more PC in everything we say, think, or do.

Why is it called being “politically correct,” by the way?

After all, politicians are so seldom “correct” these days. 😀

Of course, they have mastered the art of moving their lips without actually saying anything of import. Maybe that’s it.

Last week, a group of PC proponents wanted me to sign a petition agreeing to never, ever, ever, under any circumstance use the word “retarded” . . . ever again.

I declined to sign and told them their idea was retarded. 😎

oldancestor - March 16, 2011

You’re a cool kid, Hatch.

nrhatch - March 16, 2011

Thanks, OA. Right back atcha!

3. Piglet in Portugal - March 16, 2011

Wise words! Trying to stay calm and at peace, now I’ve retired, is important. Mr Piglet is constantly trying to wind me up and takes great pleasure in doing so, if he can. As time passes, and I am more at peace with myself, I learn with varying degrees of success to stay calm and not let THIS and THAT bother me (as much).
As for the OTHER THING I moved from a country which was so PC you could be convicted of thought crime 🙂

nrhatch - March 16, 2011

If we aren’t careful, Big Brother will monitor our thoughts for occasional lapses in PC judgment.

That’s the real reason I keep reading Carlin ~ his irreverence towards the status quo and the powers-that-be appeals to me.

I’m tired of having PC people babbling double speak to tell me what I can and cannot say. Or what I should or should not do. From now on I’m going to break into song:

“I don’t care what you say anymore this is MY life. Go ahead with your own life and leave me alone.” (Thanks, Billy Joel!)

nrhatch - March 16, 2011

Maybe your calm and peaceful demeanor will encourage Mr. Piglet to behave himself. 😀

Piglet in Portugal - March 16, 2011

Actually, reading all the other comments the more I think about political correctness the more lathered up I become grrrrr I take the micky out of myself all the time…Now if there’s a Micky reading please don’t you get bent out of shape, either… 🙂

Now I need to go and find some peace…

nrhatch - March 16, 2011

That’s the spirit.

Laugh. Breathe. Repeat. 😎

4. suzicate - March 16, 2011

Have you ever read the comment sections on yahoo news or other internet sites? Amazing how people attack other (name calling and threats) just because they don’t agree…yeah, I want to tell them to get a life! The world is becoming way too PC…sometimes I’m afraid to speak for fear that I am using some word with an alternate meaning that I am unaware. It’s just crazy!

nrhatch - March 16, 2011

I generally steer clear of the comment sections because they appear to be populated only by fanatics on the fringes of RIGHT and LEFT rather than be those of more moderate opinions.

As Maggie pointed out, even benign music videos on youtube generate so much posturing of “I’m RIGHT and you’re WRONG” that it’s exhausting to “listen.”

When Jennifer Anisten got lambasted by mental health “professionals” for referring to HERSELF as a retard for playing dress up all day . . . I wondered whether I should resign from the human race.

Of course, the mental health “professionals” did it for self-serving reasons . . . to attract attention to their cause. After criticizing Jennifer’s innocent use of the “R” word, they used the platform they gained from their tirade to solicit donations. 😦

Paula Tohline Calhoun - March 16, 2011

Remember President Obama taking heat for referring to the way he bowled as “retarded?” He knew as soon as he said it (this was on “Jay Leno’s Tonight Show,” that he had made an “error,” as innocently as it was intended, and take heat he did!

Ricky Nelson’s song “Garden Party,” said it well, “You know you can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself.”

Paula Tohline Calhoun - March 16, 2011

Also – regarding “Music Videos,” and TV programs being offensive, there is always the “off” button or the “mute” button. It seems as if many people don’t know of their existence, and if they do, and don’t use them, then they have therefore chosen to be offended! They fail to recognize that as far as stage, print media, TV and movie producers are concerned, the almighty buck is their guide. If people ignored what they dislike, they can do far more by simply not being patrons, rather than reading, watching or listening and then creating a stink – thereby drawing attention to what they supposedly dislike!

nrhatch - March 16, 2011

Good points, Paula.

I had no idea that Obama had not mastered the art of bowling. 🙂

There is ALWAYS something to be offended about . . . if you feel that spending your days in a state of offense makes sense.

suzicate - March 16, 2011

Of course, they used it, typical! I never comment on those things, but I read the comments and get angry…guess it would be better for my mental health to skip that section!

nrhatch - March 16, 2011

Exactly, Suzi!

Every once in a while I read over a few of the comments, but rarely find it a good use of my time.

5. Richard W Scott - March 16, 2011

Retarded also means curtailed, or held back. As in to “retard the spark” in a automobile distrutor, or just delay something.

I like this post quite a bit. I think you’ve nailed some important issues.

One, that spoken words are sounds. They are sounds that we attribute meaning to, yes, but the magic word there is WE. We are the ones that hold those words to mean this or that. Or the other thing. I’ve always found it funny how people can get so upset about the use of a certain word. Cursing, for example. If you’ve never heard the word before, it doesn’t matter. If you have heard it before, and you let it bother you, that’s just immature.

I suspect that most cursing and name-calling is a cry for attention. An “If I can’t get you to like me, I can at least get you to hate me,” kind of thing.

You cannot have an argument if you don’t argue. You cannot be offended without giving your permission.

nrhatch - March 16, 2011

Wonderful observations, Rik! I agree.

Words only have the meaning we assign to them ~ if we are offended, it’s because we are choosing to be offended.

“How we relate to the issue IS the issue.”

6. Rosa - March 16, 2011

I choose to be Calm! I am pretty hard to offend and don’t worry much about other people being PC. But, I know a few people who really get bent out of shape at the tiniest ‘offense’ even if it has nothing to do with them personally. I never thought about it being an ego feeding attention grabber. I’ll be sure to ignore them next time!

nrhatch - March 16, 2011

I’m with you, Rosa.

I do not readily relinquish my peace of mind in response to minor “infractions” by others.

Instead, I evaluate whether I need to take action “in opposition” and, if so, what action would be most productive.

Yesterday, I saw an awful lot of people getting annoyed at things that I would brush off like stray lint. That inspired me to post this post.

As Officer Bob Brady might say, “Move along, people. There’s nothing to see here.”

7. Paula Tohline Calhoun - March 16, 2011

You (and George) are so spot on. Language is so fluid – one really cannot keep up with how rapidly it changes and morphs. This post links directly to the one that included Stephen Fry’s piece yesterday! As far as certain words are concerned, to me the issue has always been one of context, i.e., “content” vs. “form.” The word “retarded” is a perfect example. Simply as a word there is nothing intrinsically offensive in it. It is correctly descriptive of many things: people, attitudes, situations. The form it takes is, #1: hermeneutical – in that people will infer from its use absolutely anything they want to; and #2: how it is used, or the implied usage being pejorative, or intended to belittle or denigrate, or the exact opposite! Quite frankly, I think you can say the same thing about “slow.” And exactly HOW are we to describe those people, who through no fault of their own (generally – except politicians) have the condition called, variously, retarded, slow, mentally handicapped, learning disabled – all of which fall in and out of fashion as time goes on. What did the petitioners suggest?

As wonderful as language is, it is also a land mine at times. I feel the best way to deal with PC is to consider what you are trying to convey, use the words you choose and be careful and sensitive to the form and tenor of your speech. There are always people who will choose to be offended, and those who choose not to be!

Being “PC” is basically a waste of time – because as soon as one has figured out what is PC, it isn’t anymore!

My mother always bemoaned the loss to her of the word “gay.” I told her to use it anyway! What it meant to her was more important, because people were always going to infer what they wanted from the word, and choose to giggle or be offended because that was their choice, and not at all what she was actually saying!

Oh well – language is a wonderful thing. It generates such fasinating converstions and musings as this one! Thanks, Nancy! And cheers! BTW, consider giving my challenge a try! Bet you can come up with a good one.

nrhatch - March 16, 2011

Awesome comment, PTC!

We need descriptive labels to describe the world around us. Those labels change over time ~ almost as fast as the fashions on the runways in Paris and Milan!

What is PC this year, may not be next year.

If I know that I do not intend to offend, then I don’t worry too much about stepping on the occasional toe with my words. 😀

8. Julie - March 16, 2011

In a previous post, I quoted Bruce Coville who was talking about humor in writing. He opened with a joke:

Q: How many feminists does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: That’s not funny!

George Carlin has a way of taking out that stick and prodding people with things we know deep down ring true but that we believe we should be offended by. His humor got more political later in life. I like his earlier stuff. Either way, censorship of words or ideas has no place in this world.

nrhatch - March 16, 2011

Thanks, Julie. I love that joke. It’s my favorite lightbulb joke. 😀

I tend to agree with you. During his later years, he became less optimistic that we could change the world through our actions . . . and more pessimistic about the powers-that-be and their “secret” agendas.

There are a few words that have always been used to denigrate others and to promote prejudice. Rather than adding to the list with formerly unobjectionable words, maybe we need to socialize each other to be a tad more tolerant of our differences.

Paula Tohline Calhoun - March 16, 2011

All the comments have been so great in this post (including my own ;-D )! Another favorite joke, and I think i’ve used it here before:

Q: “How many women with PMS does it take to change a lightbulb?”

A: “Four.” ( – long pause – ) “BECAUSE I SAID SO!!!!”


nrhatch - March 16, 2011

Or the Buddhist version of a Knock Knock Joke:

“Knock, Knock.”
“Who’s there?”

9. Greg Camp - March 16, 2011

But what if I choose not to be calm? Sometimes, getting lathered up is fun. Of course, I’ve always favored Inner Turmoil as my mental state of choice. That’s my version of aerobic exercise.

nrhatch - March 16, 2011

That is why we must, of course, follow our own priorities in life.

For me, the goal behind all goals is happiness ~ as in inner peace, not hedonism. Therefore, I am disinclined to get riled up over nothing . . . or even “next to nothing.” 🙂

For some, nothing makes them feel more alive and connected to the source than creating inner turmoil over nothing.

As you say, it is a form of aerobic exercise. And, as “they” say, “No pain. No gain.” 😀

10. Paula Tohline Calhoun - March 16, 2011

I agree with Greg, too! (How ambidextrous – or is that “ambilinguous” of me? Ranting is one of my favorite forms – as long as it is humorous or tongue-in-cheek!

Did I just coin a word? Hope so! I kind of like the ring to that form of “forked tongue.”

11. Carol Ann Hoel - March 16, 2011

Getting all worked up into a tirade about anything takes too much energy and accomplishes nothing or less. I really don’t know why people do it anyway. Live and let live. 🙂 Blessings…

nrhatch - March 16, 2011

Wonderful philosophy to follow, Carol Ann.

In my “tender youth,” things seemed worth getting worked up about. Now, not so much. 🙂

12. CMSmith - March 16, 2011

I’m not sure what I think about all of this. I agree that political correctness has gotten out of control. But I also believe that words carry a lot of power. I had a sister who was by definition retarded. In fact she was extremely retarded–she never learned to walk or talk or take care of herself in any way. I loved her dearly.

When my friends loosely threw that word around in a derogatory way, it was extremely hurtful to me.

I understand the meaning is far broader than the usage that I found hurtful. I just choose not to use the word.

nrhatch - March 16, 2011

I hear you, CM. But I’m not convinced that it’s the word that hurts . . . it’s the attitude of “friends” towards your sister that hurt.

If said with a sneer, almost any word becomes derogatory. Think about Dana Carvey as the Church Lady, “Well, isn’t that SPEC-I-AL?”

{{Squinched up pruney face}}

As a kid, I didn’t like being called “fat” or “pleasingly plump” or “chubby.” Having people focus on my weight instead of my worth hurt my feelings. But I don’t think excising those words from everyone’s vocabulary is the solution.

The solution is for ME to not care so much about what others think or say about me, and for adults to teach tolerance to all kids.

Booksphotographsandartwork - March 16, 2011

CM I had a twin sister in the same situation. I understand why you don’t like the word. I didn’t used too. Well I still don’t when it is used in a derogatory way.

nrhatch - March 16, 2011

Thanks, Linda.

13. Booksphotographsandartwork - March 16, 2011

There have been several “retarded” people in the area that I live. And yes I said retarded. It’s not a bad word. It’s not a mean word. It simply is what it is. These particular people were allowed to wander alone and it bordered on being dangerous for the rest of us. Often times downright scary. One time extremely insane. Oops there’s another one of those words. Sorry about that. I had to call the police the time it became insane. A friend of mine got mad because I said this person was retarded and because I called the police. Well he was. I wasn’t being mean or making it up. I wasn’t using the word in derogatory manner. And yes the police did need to be involved. Yes I was mad, I was upset but this person was retarded and had caused others distress. It was as if she thought I was the one doing something offensive. As if you are retarded you can’t have the police called on you. What sense does that make?!

nrhatch - March 16, 2011

When we feel physically threatened by the actions of others, calling the police makes sense to me ~ no matter whose actions are in question.

People with developmental difficulties can have anti-social tendencies that make them dangerous when “provoked.”

Of course, some people are just anti-social. 😦

14. Booksphotographsandartwork - March 16, 2011

Or even not provoked!

nrhatch - March 16, 2011

Well, that’s why I put it in quotes.

Because, as we’ve been discussing in this comment thread, people can get “provoked” and “upset” about nothing.

15. Cindy - March 16, 2011

Thinking of a bumper sticker I once saw “Don’t get your knickers in a knot, it just makes you walk funny.” 😉

nrhatch - March 16, 2011

So true! Another: “Pull up your big girl panties and deal with it!”

16. eof737 - March 17, 2011

What got your goat on this one Nancy!!!? Do tell?

nrhatch - March 17, 2011

Hah! My billy goat is right where I left him. 🙂

I confess that I am puzzled by people’s choices. If you desire inner peace . . . why abandon that posture every time a minor distraction comes along?

Reading George Carlin inspired me to share my thoughts on the “R” word and the goal of PC perfection.

17. Tilly Bud - March 17, 2011

Excellent advice, as always 🙂

nrhatch - March 17, 2011

Thanks, Tilly Bud.

There will always be someone out there ready to push our “buttons” or, as Eliz notes, “get our goat.”

It’s up to us to detach long enough to see whether jumping into the fray is a good use of our limited time and energy on the planet.

Eventually, we are able to brush off minor annoyances like stray lint from our blazer.

18. Nancy Fairbrother - April 21, 2011

I love this post. It’s so true. I am now not listening to the few friends I have that get all worked up. I either change the subject or say, “Let’s change the subject.” They know better than to object. Or I’ll get all worked up. Not really, I just thought it was funny. George Carlin was a genius even though he got pretty dirty sometimes. Thanks for the point to this post.

nrhatch - April 21, 2011

Your Anger Bot reminded me of this post ~ we can “rant” without losing our calm center by becoming “raving lunatics.” 😀

19. Iam Who Iam - June 23, 2013

You remind me of how much power we give to words when we are offended by them. A word is nothing more or less than a jumble of letters in a specific order. When we respond to them with anger, defensiveness, or hurt, we not only transform them into weapons, but aim them directly at ourselves. What the fuck’s up with that???

nrhatch - June 23, 2013

Exactly right! We need to “Toughen Up.”

“No one can make [us] feel inferior without [our] consent.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

20. Daily Prompt: Can One-Size-Fits-All Blog Accommodate Misfit? | Iam Who Iam - June 23, 2013

[…] This, That, & The Other Thing by Spirit Lights the Way […]

21. Toughen Up! | Spirit Lights The Way - June 23, 2013

[…] Related post:  This, That, & The Other Thing […]

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