Monday, October 5, 2009

Does Constantly Wondering if I'm a Bad Person Make Me A Bad Person?

Lately, "Does that make me a bad person?" has eclipsed all other questions in my life. I ask this question nearly constantly. It even annoys me.

It started as a joke. You know, "She's a terrible human being and I hope she falls out of a plane, plummets to her death and breaks every bone in her body first. Does that make me a bad person?" And it entered my vernacular.

I have a strange vernacular. I use the word wicked a lot and I don't think I'll be changing that any time soon. I say "spendy" instead of expensive. I say "a touch" and "a bit" instead of a little. I love adding an est to words that are already superlative - bestest, mostest, giantest. I have not, in the past ten years, said I was tipsy. I say "I'm a little gypsy." I don't even remember why. There is probably something there, but I just can't remember what.

Everyone has their own personal language. Everyone has words that sort of sum them up. Words that remind you of them, because they say them so often. And I love language, so I love to play with that concept. You know in Mean Girls where the one girl is constantly trying to bring in "fetch?" That's me. I like to say things a lot and see if other people pick them up. Not because I want to be the girl that made everyone say fetch, just because I like the way language works, the fluidity of what's accepted and expected.

So, does that make a bad person? I'm kinda driving myself crazy with it. The other day, The Husband answered "sort of" and I realized that I am not just joking anymore. I am really asking. When did that happen? I have never NEVER said "Do these jeans make my butt look big?" Part of the reason for that is because my butt needs no help. It looks big all on it's own. Plus, why ask? I don't really want to know. I can't see my own butt in the course of a normal day, so if it looks big, then whatever, everyone else is suffering, not me. So why do I care if I'm a bad person?

First of all, I'm not really asking if I'm a bad person, because, um. Yeah. I am. I don't like people. In general. Don't get me wrong, I lurve all of you. It's just that I don't like people as a group. Individuals, fine, dandy. People, a scourge. I speak my mind even when it's not exactly prudent. I try to do good. I try to make the world better than I found it, be the change I want to see, yadda, yadda. But am I a good person? No, not really.

What I am really asking there is Does this make me look like a bad person. And who cares? I've never cared before. I don't care if people think I'm good, bad, evil, saintly or completely utterly neutral. I have this unnatural desire for people to think I'm "nice" but that's not the same thing. Lots of evil people are "nice." Serial killers are nice. If they weren't people wouldn't hang out around them and they'd never have anyone to kill. Plus, they'd get caught.

Sometimes, I want people to think I'm a bad person. Snarky people. Cool, snarky people. I want them to think that I am really bad, but also "nice" because I want them to want to be around me. I'm needy like that.

So, why keep asking. Mostly because it's habit now. But also, because I'm using it to apologize. We have a couple from Fiji in our book club and, in additional to discussing books, we like to teach them about the South. Because it's funny. Their favorite lesson so far is on "bless her heart." For non-southerners, saying "Bless her/his heart," excuses whatever you said immediately prior. For instance, "That man is the spawn of Satan, bless his heart." Perfectly acceptable. "She is a tramp and a half, bless her heart." Fine by me.

So, it's sort of like blessing my own heart. It's like saying, I'm really evil incarnate, but at least I care that I am. Which, again, is stupid. Who cares?

And yet, I'm having a really hard time not saying it. I'm having a really hard time striking it from my vocabulary. This is like trying to not cuss when the kids start repeating you. It's wicked hard and you don't even realize you did it until it's too late. There should be a 12-step program. Then all of us terrible phrase addicts could go once a week and try to sweat it out. With coffee and cigarettes.


Caroline said...

Oh, Bless your heart!

Cathy said...

Hello, my name is Cathy and I am a phrase addict.... Wicked! However, I need a 12-step program to stop adding sound effects to my vocabulary. I picked it up from my son, who was constantly telling me how something sounded. He stopped, but now I can't......