No Offense

Mostly Bright Ideas

KidsWhen I was a kid, we called each other a lot of names. These names were not flattering, but neither did they reflect intense anger. Rather, they were meant to inflict momentary insult, often in response to a perceived slight, a physical injury, or an inconsiderate action. For example, if one of your friends smiled after spotting the thirty-seven at the top of your spelling test, you might tell him that he was a no-good rat fink. If he stepped on your foot or tried to cut in front of you in the milk line, you might call him a bonehead, or a blockhead, or pretty much anything that described his head as being composed of some dense material. If he made a ludicrous statement, like, “The pope goes to the bathroom,” you’d accuse him of being cracked, or crazy, or a stupid idiot.

And sometimes the verbal volley was just…

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