Word Inflation; Just how do you tell someone to F-off?

Hey, younger generation!  I want my word back!  Since the Petoskey News-Review decided to end local opinion columns, I have received a pile of great letters thanking me for writing over the past year.  It is a  satisfying feeling knowing that I really wasn’t howling into the night as it sometimes seemed.

I also received a letter from one of the racist a-holes (wow, blogging IS more fun!) who regularly sends me emails of the most vile sort.  Just last week this cretin sent me a picture of three distinguished African-Americans standing in a line and he captioned it “Shit Sandwich.”   His emails have been dispatched to my trash folder unread for about a year, though every once in a while I admit to being curious what the fool has to say…for entertainment purposes only.

So he sent me an email yesterday entitled “Finally” in reference to his joy that I’m no longer writing for the News-Review.  His email was full of the normal venomous attacks on my character, my morals, and my intellect, along with, of course, a series of Bible quotes justifying all his attacks.  It remains one of the great mysteries of rhetoric when people use Bible quotes to explain why Bible quotes are valid retorts to someone who dismisses the validity of Bible quotes.  They really don’t seem to understand that I really don’t care one bit what the Bible says about anything.  It is not an authority in my life, so why do these folks keep sending me stuff I don’t regard as an authoritative?

The guy then goes into territory that really shows his insensitivity to all things civil.  He decided to include an analysis of my wife and of my marriage to justify why he’s entitled to condemn me to hell (I guess he got that from the Bible?)  By the time I finished reading the email, I think I would have preferred another shit sandwich.

As I have done with all emails, letters, and online posts, I started to respond to him.  It wasn’t going to take much time because the response was only going to be two words.  But just before hitting “send” I realized that the word preceding “off” didn’t really carry the meaning I was trying to convey.  It used to.  I have generally reserved that word for only the moments requiring the most intense invective.

In recent years, however, I have come to understand that the word has lost much of its meaning.  I blame that gosh-darned younger generation.  As a high school teacher I get to walk the halls several times a day during breaks between classes.  My treasured epithet was now being used as a verb, an adverb, an adjective, and a noun…and sometimes in very endearing fashion.  Boys and girls just toss it around in the most careless fashion.   Like the Federal Reserve pumping too much money into the economy and thereby causing inflation, these young people had so diluted the meaning of the word that it could no longer adequately express my message to the man who had just written me.

What to do? What to do?  I searched the Urban Dictionary as well as my 1950’s Thesaurus to try to find a better word to use, but alas, one does not exist.  Responding to him in a calm and intelligent fashion would certainly be wasting words on a guy who sends me emails comparing Hillary Clinton to Adolf Hitler.  I’m quite certain there is no way to dumb down the argument enough.

I could just ignore him like I do all 99% of the time anyway, but that seems inadequate after his latest attacks.  I waited 24 hours without any fresh ideas.   So in the end, my original message is going to have to suffice hoping that he hasn’t come to realize the word inflation that I have.  I’m apparently going to hell anyway.

6 Comments on “Word Inflation; Just how do you tell someone to F-off?”

  1. cindyricksgers October 30, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

    I’m only sorry I just recently became aware of your outstanding writing. I will certainly follow your blog. Had I known about your column, I would have happily subscribed to the newspaper! I’m not that far away, over here on Beaver Island. Thanks!

    • Mark Pontoni October 30, 2014 at 5:34 pm #

      Thanks very much! I enjoyed writing the column, but I’m back to blogging now…hope you enjoy it.

  2. Penny Marshall October 30, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

    This is waaaayyyyy better than the newspaper!!
    Thanks for the giggle.

  3. Richard scott October 30, 2014 at 9:56 pm #

    Sorry. Reasoned discussion is too often lacking. Founding fathers often were unreasonable. Ask Aaron Burr.

  4. Marcia Pontoni October 30, 2014 at 11:18 pm #

    Excellent! I love it. Just keep on blogging!

    BTW – I understood yost’s decision to bunt, BUT WHY IN THE HELL didn’t he pinch run in the 9th for the truck who could only get to 3rd!

    Oh well. Can’t wait for March.


    Sent from my iPad


  5. Carol Haege October 31, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

    Share your love and appreciation of the f-bomb, Mark, and while I’m hardly of the younger generation, I too tend to use it with reckless abandon. But only within the
    confines of my senior apartment, naturally. Swearing in the commons’ area is grounds for eviction, while malicious gossip is tolerated and often rewarded.

    However, just a few days ago, after five days in the hospital, I agreed to, “in my best interests,” to spend an undefined amount of time in the “rehab section,” of one of our long-term nursing homes. The long and short of this pathetic tale, is that I remember saying directly to a young staff member, “This place is f…king freak show.” (In reference only to the mayhem, the noise, a percentage of the staff, and the general mismanagement.)

    She laughed, and I, after two days and one horrific night, am AWL.

    However, science and genetics willing, I may yet get the chance to deliver the ultimate F-Off to all those, who, over the last three decades have convinced me they “only act in my best interest.” My only regret will be not having said it 30 years-ago.

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