Friday, November 14, 2008

Finding My Niche

Last night when I got home I walked into the kitchen and poured myself a glass of wine. I then started plugging balls of cookie dough onto a cookie sheet.

As I was sipping my wine and scooping cookies out, my husband sat at the kitchen table, cook book in front of him, making out a list of meals and groceries needed for the next two weeks.

"Did you read my blog today?", I asked him.

Without looking up he replied, "No, sorry babe, I didn't."

"Oh, well, I guess you didn't see that someone wrote me about using the word retard."

And then my husband did something I've never seen him do. He put down his pen and looked at me with concern. I had his attention. I felt his eyes search my face as he said, "Oh, really?"
And next to him at the table sat my 9-year old daughter. I had her full attention too. Which is good, I needed her full attention.

"Yeah", I said with a sigh. At that moment, I knew that tray of cookies didn't stand a chance. I was eating the whole thing.

And I did.

I explained to him what I wrote and my daughter listened. He nodded and then winced when I told him that I had mentioned Jadon's issues in it. Sometimes we do forget what our lives would look like today if he was still with us.

I told him about how I wrote about how they thought Monkeygirl might have Down's Syndrome when I was pregnant with her. I watched her face carefully. It didn't change. I breathed a sigh of relief. I'm not even sure why.

As my son tugged on my pant leg and the wine went down easily, I looked at my daughter and told her how that word is not to be used to describe anyone. And while she can use any word she wants to describe herself that isn't one I would use for her or anyone else. She nodded her head. That's what she always does. She's so sensitive, I think a quick nod is all she can muster because she's always so overwrought with feelings.

Later in the night she came in the room, with a pout on her face. I asked her what was wrong. She wouldn't say. I asked her again, bracing myself for whatever she might reveal.

Turns out, she was upset because I told her she couldn't wear sleeveless shirts anymore because the weather has turned cold.

And that told me what I needed to know. My words don't have an impact on this world. And that is a relief in some weird way.

I spent the rest of the night analyzing something. And if you haven't seen the movie Clerks 2, I apologize. Well no, I don't because there is a donkey show scene that you really can exist without ever seeing and be absolutely, perfectly fine, but...

They have an entire conversation about the term 'porch monkey'. In the scene he uses the term and the other character's eyes bulge out of his head and he then explains that you can't just go around saying porch monkey. He says it innocently because his grandmother called him a porch monkey because he played on the porch as a kid. Anyway, he gets indignant and declares that he's taking Porch Monkey back! They can't do that to his term. They can't make it dark and hurtful.

I laughed so hard when I watched this scene. Mostly because I have some poor sense of humor issues, but really, because it hit home with me and I agreed with it.

And then I thought, well why would I think that taking porch monkey back was okay but I would never say the "N-word" in any way other than I did the other day when I wrote about the Obama sign that had been defaced.

Why? Because the words porch and monkey are innocent. The word retard is innocent. They weren't created to be derogatory, they were misused and turned that way.

I know people who can turn a phrase better than I can. And I know people that use their words for powerful and wonderful things.

But to my credit? I can take a word and turn it back to what it should be.

Just a word.


Anonymous said...

I never knew the porch monkey thing until I saw Clerks 2. You are totally right about the donkey show. It burned my retinas. I feel the same way about seeing Jay naked in Zach and Miri last weekend. Take back your word, lady!

ghost of keywork said...

I call DPH 'my little yard ape'. Nice post, idiot.

Dirty Pirate Hooker said...

It's true, he does call me a yard ape. And growing up my grandma would call me a porch monkey, her little oreo baby and her little nigger baby.

She was from Arkansas...that's what they did.

Lily's Mommy said...

Amen, sistah!

That's all I got - I'm digesting a huge chocolate croissant I had for lunch. I love being pregnant! AND I didn't kill anyone while I was out today although I was seriously leaning that way.

Did you get your haircut yet?

J said...

I loved Clerks 2, and I thought the exact same thing when I saw it. My mom always called me and my friend porch monkeys, and we called each other that too! We never realized it was a racist term, we just thought it was because we hung out on everyone's front porches smoking cigarettes all day long.

I am glad that MonkeyGirl understood what you said. You are a great mom.

J said...

PS. I love Jay, and I am even more excited about seeing Zac and Miri now, because I get to see him naked!!! Wooooooooo hooooooooo!

Lisa..... said...

Poor DPH! My mom never called us anything but rugrats. And there were times when she made me feel worse than anyone who used a name. You're right. Sometime it's not about the words, but how they use them.

Kat said...

You know what? You are fucking cool. That's all.

Pam said...

You are awesome and you can use whatever word you want. How is the whole haircut thing going? (See even if I don't comment, I do still read.....I'm just lame like that!)

Maggie, Dammit said...

Wonder where your girl gets it, huh? I love your beautiful, sensitive soul.

Vodka Mom said...

Wow. Why can't we be free to say what we want, and not be judged? Well, no judging here.