August 1, 2008

The Weeklies #47

The Weekly Mia Breakthrough. Mia pretty much potty trained herself in an hour. Like, on Monday she just decided she wanted to wear underwear and pee in the potty. So she did. And she's been doing it ever since. It's amazing.

The Weekly Mini-Bathroom Encounter. There's this guy who works in the building that apparently refuses to go into the bathroom while anyone else is in there. He stands outside until whoever's using it leaves. I've found him waiting outside on me twice. Come on dude, there are three sinks, two urinals and four stalls - that bathroom is big enough for the two of us. Or maybe I just look menacing when I have to take a leak.

The Weekly Reads. I've got two good ones for you this week. The first Traveler by Ron McLarty. McLarty's first novel - The Memory of Running - was awe-inspiringly wonderful. Traveler proves that it wasn't just an accident. While overall not as strong as The Memory of Running, there are parts that I like even more. McLarty is an actor you've seen before who stumbled onto a career as an author later in life. In Traveler, he even pokes fun at a few roles he's had. I highly recommend Traveler. I also recommend Heartsick by Chelsea Cain which is surprising since I was pretty convinced that the whole serial-killer thing was beaten to death. Like, if you read the blurbs on half the mass market paperbacks on stands they read something like, "The Midget Killer terrorized the city while Detective Joe Blow was forced to confront demons from his own past in order to stop the violence." The burbs on the back of Heartsick compare it to Silence of the Lambs and it's an apt comparison that doesn't blow up in Cain's face. In fact Cain's a better writer than Thomas Harris will ever be. (Seriously, Harris can't write. Go back and read his debut novel, Black Sunday. It's terrible.) Cain's characters are well developed, and the multiple plot lines unfold in some surprising ways. But beware - Cain doesn't spare the reader any gory details. It's pretty harsh in parts.

The Weekly Great Book I Haven't Read...Yet. 72 Things Younger Than John McCain.

The Weekly Schadenfreude. So, some dude is growing pot in Rock Creek Park here in DC. And gets busted by a turtle. Now that's whack. Better hope Barney Frank gets his way.

My Weekly Rave-Out. Day before yesterday, I wrote about the Butterfly Cake Incident. I thought it was a good post. I got a lot of comments and even some email about it. Some of them were buzzkills. First I was told that I shouldn't have bullied the sixteen year old Emo Kid. Specifically, "I find it sad that an adult would make fun a teenager who is clearly at an awkward stage of life. Perhaps you would better get your point across without the bullying." I've got to ask - how was I a bully? Even if I did cop a slight attitude, why shouldn't I have? She was absolutely terrible at her job and she didn't seem to give a damn. And she's in a service industry. It's not my fault she had the social skills of an unripened banana. Not really her fault either. She never should have landed the gig. But I didn't bully her. Second, I was scolded for using the word retarded. Now, don't think I use that word lightly. And don't think I didn't think long and hard about the implications of using that word. Since the time I was a wee child, my mom was a special education teacher. I spent many days in her classrooms and even taught summer school arts and crafts classes for kids with mental disabilities. There's not a bone in my body comfortable poking fun at folks with physical, learning, or mental disabilities. That said, when did retarded become a bad word? My trusty dictionary defines it as occurring or developing later than desired or expected; delayed. There's no judgment there, no subjectivity, no implication that the retardation is any way mental. Yeah, sure, it's a word that gets thrown around in deplorable ways. In ways that aren't actually accurate. If we all used words as they're defined, we'd spare a lot of confusion. So for the love of the baby jesus can't we all stop being so damn politically correct. It's fucking ridiculous. And retarded.

The Weekly Question. With respect to the rave-out, am I out of line?

Posted by Chris at August 1, 2008 7:02 AM

You are not out of line with the rave-out. I apologize to all your readers I am about to offend, but, people are just too damn accepting of people acting unprofessionally or just plain stupid. Why do I constantly hear people making excuse for this type of behavior.

There are so many examples of arguments about whether or not we should be accepting of the latest trend of all kinds of things e.g., text message speak in emails by younger workers.

Why does the bar have to keep getting lower and lower?

Posted by: goodsnake at August 1, 2008 7:29 AM

I agree with you Chris. If they are shooting for an anti-social personality then they should get a job where they do not deal with the public. I tend to give that type a hard time myself. I always figured they were wanting it since they put themselves in that position.
As for the word retarded, my wife runs the transportation system here and they specialize in transporting developmentally and physically challenged peoples. That said, I tend to use the word retarded as a generic term for people who are slow witted and lack common sense but never as a slight towards someone who actually is, well, retarded.
Geez, if I was going to complain about anything on your blog it would be the use of the words baby Jesus, but I don't because unlike some "Christians", I have a sense of humor.

Posted by: Jeff A at August 1, 2008 7:34 AM

Service is service and frustration is frustration. As a proud parent, you are totally in the right. This is your only daughter's birthday party...and for $44, you should be treated like royalty. Sure, it was not the kid's fault that the cake sucked...but it was her fault the service did. Especially since co-worker has to point out the incompetence of the emo kid. God knows, that if I came home with that cake...or did not come home with a cake at all…my wife would kill me even if it was Baskin-Robbin's fault.

Posted by: harrylips at August 1, 2008 7:39 AM

I find it sad that an adult would suck the fun out of life and feel the need to dispense morality lesson via comments. But what do i know, I am clearly at an awkward stage of my day (pre-coffee), so in the immortal words of Mr. T "Quit your Jibba Jabba fool!"

Posted by: Matt W. at August 1, 2008 7:42 AM

If you work in customer service you have to provide, oh I don't know... CUSTOMER SERVICE. It's not that hard. And actually, having worked retail management for 3 years post-college, I get MORE upset now at bad service than I ever did before. I'd be making a complaint to corporate about her.

Re: retarded - I think it's one of those words that is just too loaded for common usage anymore. I'm ok with using it when I know who I'm with, and that they'll know what I mean and that it's not passing judgment on mentally disabled people, but I don't use it in mixed company. The English language evolves over time, words fall in and out of favor, and if a word causes someone pain or stress, I don't see why we shouldn't use one of the multitude of other synonyms our language offers.

Posted by: Leah at August 1, 2008 8:02 AM

The only part that bothered me was when you said "we fixed it." B/c I know Beth did and my husband always says we when I did something and that annoys me.

Posted by: jodifur at August 1, 2008 8:07 AM

Mini-Bathroom Encounter: I'm howling about this one. I think whoever invented multi-stall bathrooms was a sick f*ck. Unless I am desperate I avoid going in there while someone else is in there. Fortunately, I can see the bathroom door if my office door is open.

Rave-Out/Weekly Question: No, I don't think you were out of line. People are too sensitive these days. In context, retarded sounded correct. She was acting a bit "delayed" and out of it.

Posted by: Maria at August 1, 2008 8:17 AM

Nope. Your rant wasn't out of line. (Sorry, but rave out brings back too many memories of dirty sweaty people on e.)

Do you take suggestions for your weeklies? If so, I've got one: your blog of the week (i.e. a blog, or even a post, that you like). I know I'd be interested to see some of what you read.

Posted by: SciFi Dad at August 1, 2008 8:22 AM

First and MOST IMPORTANTLY: Congrats to Mia on her potty-accomplishments. That's a MAJOR deal, and I'm excited for y'all, because we just went thru that here and it makes my life a hell of a lot easier to not be changing diapers all day. Whoo.

Secondly, I don't think your "rave out" was out of line and I think it's pretty sad that people look for stuff to be offended by. I think it's a little obnoxious. My brother is what one might term "retarded" (or to the more politically correct - vomit, who invented PC? - at the very least he is VERY SPECIAL NEEDS), and I don't find the use of the word "retarded" to be offensive. I didn't find your slam on the idiots at Baskin Robbins to mean any more than that the kids were both socially inept and incapable of providing decent customer service. For someone to latch on to that and make a case about it, well. Whatever.

I think it's better to look at the intent with which something was said.

Posted by: sarah at August 1, 2008 8:28 AM

My dauhter did the exact same thing with potty training. Terrified of the potty for 8 months, then got up one morning and never used a diaper again. I''m the biggest fan of the wait-til-they're-ready method if only because it's less work for me.'t you using "retarded" to describe monkeys? Since when does politically correctness apply to MONKEYS???? I thought it was a funny post.

Posted by: Shannon at August 1, 2008 8:30 AM

Your rant is totally in line and could not have come at a better time for me, because I am pretty sure I'm going to post my own later.

I have retyped this comment about 15 times, and can't make it sound less than angry, so I'm just going to say that I am totally with you, and anything written in a blog needs to be taken with some poetic license and a grain of salt. I'm pretty sure you didn't call her a retard to her face. And maybe you did say all those other things to her, but when I read it, that's not what I thought. I assumed you were exaggerating for effect. Maybe you weren't, and it did happen. But who cares?

All I'm saying is, take what you read on blogs with a grain of salt, and maybe expend those negative-comment-leaving-energies elsewhere.

Okay, this still sounds kind of angry. OH WELL!

Posted by: Caitlin at August 1, 2008 8:35 AM

No, I don't think you were out of line with either the bullying or the use of that term. In this case, by dictionary standards, it was completely within context. I used to always use that term but the people who got angry about it finally broke me down and I phased it out of my lexicon. My big over-used term now, for anything that sucks, is gay. Which totally is out of context. Unless you take suck to mean something totally opposite of "something crappy". ;)

Posted by: Claire at August 1, 2008 8:42 AM

In a word, NO. You were not out of line. Being in the service industry (ok retail, but the same thing), companies depend on their workers to have an attitude where customers want to return to their establishment. Customer service is a priority in all business. Without the customer there is no business.
Also, not only do we, as customers, want a friendly attitude, but at least a knowledgable one as well. You are paying for services and/or product, and therefore deserve a little bit more than what you received. Awkward stage or not, teenagers have put themselves in that position and should at least make an effort in their job and not just be there to collect the paycheck.
Ok, I am off my soap box now. Have a good day.

Posted by: Elizabeth at August 1, 2008 8:44 AM

I agree that you are not out of line... this is one of the many reasons why I cannot blog. I don't have the patience for the people that are so completely adled by their political correctedness, that a well deserved sense of outrage, dissapointment, or frustration cannot be expressed. Seriously, I fail to see why I should continually lower my standards in regards to the level of service and respect that I expect to accomodate those that cannot be bothered to make an effort.

I could go on, but I'll just get myself worked up. I say, stick to your guns. Gotta stop now, or I'll keep going!!

Posted by: varinia at August 1, 2008 8:48 AM

As a special education teacher, I do sometimes cringe at the use of the word. As a relative of a person with mental retardation, I also give a bit of a shudder each time I hear it used. However, you were NOT out of line in your choice of words... because it very accurately desribed the situation. This is a blog, for pete's sake! We don't and shouldn't expect you to use PC language. Besides, being soft and fuzzy isn't all it is cracked up to be, trust me!

Posted by: BananaToo at August 1, 2008 8:56 AM

Nope, not out of line at all. People need to get over themselves and stop being so damn sensetive and offended by everything. It's tiresome.

Posted by: Lisa at August 1, 2008 8:59 AM

I have three boys. A sign that they like you is if you get called a 'tard.

Personally, I like to use the word every now and then (come on! sometimes its a perfect fit) but being from Texas I put the emphasis on the first syllable, long e sound. Really classes it up.

Posted by: Debbie at August 1, 2008 9:17 AM

I actually asked baby Jesus and he said it is OK to call emo kids and monkeys on acid retarded, here's why:
1. Emo kids love the devil, and the devil is Jesus' nemesis.
2. Monkeys are getting waaay to big for their britches..."we evolved into people, we evolved into to people". "I don't THINK so" replies baby Jesus.
3. Jesus doesn't like acid, so monkeys on acid are a huge slap in the face.

So, in summation, calling monkeys and emo kids (and probably the current president, I didn't ask but based on my convo with BJ [yeah, that's what I call baby Jesus now, b/c he's my home slice] this is ok as well) retarded=OK.

Posted by: Mymilabean at August 1, 2008 9:18 AM

I don't think you're out of line. I grew up in a house where both of my parents worked with people who were mentally retarded, and I grew up spending a lot of time with that population. So I totally understand how you can have respect and caring for that group... and still use the word "retarded" as what it means.
As for the girl at the store... she sounded like a toolbag. (Is than less or more offensive than retarded... hmm). She gets *paid* to serve customers, and she did not serve you. If that situation had happened to virtually any other person that was trying to make their 3 year old's party special, they would've had the same rant.
Rave on rave on.

Posted by: Kate at August 1, 2008 9:28 AM

Commenter Sarah said it much better than I did:

"I think it's better to look at the intent with which something was said."

Amen Sarah!

Posted by: Caitlin at August 1, 2008 9:34 AM

1. Re the office bathroom: It's obvious that this guy reads your blog and is afraid of being anywhere near the bathroom when you're in it, since you kind of, um, attract weird bathroom behavior. WHAT? I'm just saying.
2. Re "retarded": I got into trouble on my blog for using the word "faggy" when I said something about the loud rock music coming from the car next to mine drowning out my "faggy folk music." I was not using the word to suggest anyone's sexual identity; I'm a straight woman -- and, indeed, none of my gay male friends even like folk music, so it wouldn't have been an appropriate dig even if I'd meant it as one. Also, anyone who reads my blog knows that I'm not even remotely homophobic. I was using the word the way we used it growing up, like "Mom, no way am I wearing those faggy white socks to school."

Posted by: Karen at August 1, 2008 9:35 AM

You are *so* not out of line. I saw nothing offensive at all about what you wrote.

And, YAY MIA! WTG with the potty training!

Posted by: Alissa at August 1, 2008 9:37 AM

No you were not out of line.
First, I speak with authority because my brother was mentally retarded. Your reference was proper under the circumstances.
To cruelly use the word you would have said it in an insulting way to a person who was not capable of defending themselves.
Also, we have a man at our local Walmart who is clearly mentally retarded. He is their greeter at the door. I always look forward to seeing his bright face and smile and hear his words of greeting to me when I arrive.
He could teach Emo-kid a thing or two!

Posted by: Maribeth at August 1, 2008 9:42 AM

Not out of line at all. We are coddling these kids and then when they get real jobs and people expect them to do real work -- they won't take direction. Kids need to hear that they are doing a crappy job. They need to hear they are doing crappy work, specially if they are being paid for it. I work in a hospital and the millenials take it as bullying if they get barked at during an emergency. Like for fuck's sake.

I don't get why get a bit snarky with someone who is clearly not being helpful is bullying?

Posted by: Nat at August 1, 2008 9:43 AM

Congrats to Mia on the potty training! My niece trained herself that way, too, though she still had accidents from time to time.

Oh man, I really liked Heartsick. I can't wait until the next one (Sweetheart, I think) comes out this fall.

Posted by: jaime at August 1, 2008 9:44 AM

No, definitely not out of line. Sounds like she (the 16yo employee) could use some training, and for that I blame the employer and her manager, but you are the customer and she is there to serve you. Not that customers should get rude, but they have a right to expect proper service. Doesn't sound like you were rude or out of line.

Posted by: pvz at August 1, 2008 10:07 AM

First, yay for potty training Mia...WTG :) Enjoy that freedom, it's wonderful!

As for the rave-out, you were totally not out of line. First, if you take a job, any job, not caring how old you are, you take pride in it and do it. I remember being 16 and working in retail and some days I was having issues in my own life, but you know what? I sucked it up and did my job with pride. I don't care if this girl is going thru an awkward phase or whatever her issues are, you are getting paid to do a job. You had a right to be upset and were sooo not out of line.

Folks truly need to stop making the next generation of kids a bunch of spineless whimps who cannot functions because parents are all about making life perfect for them. You know, sometimes life is hard, and sometimes you have a job you don't like. But, you have to be responsible and do your job. As someone in HR, I'm tired of having to coddle the next generation of workers who don't really know how to work.

Ok, getting off my soapbox.

Posted by: Jean at August 1, 2008 10:16 AM

out of line? absolutely not

you didn't bully and in any event people (and by people I mean society) are far too lenient on teenagers these days - wary of crushing their delicate sensibilities or whatever. she is getting paid to do a job and she was/is not doing it, period.

Posted by: Kathryn at August 1, 2008 10:23 AM

Did you know that John McCain is older than the chocolate chip cookie?

Posted by: Amy at August 1, 2008 10:27 AM

Dude, you are not out of line. When I go to a store I expect the employees to be able to do their jobs. It's not too much to ask. It's barely asking anything. If 16 yr old can't find a cake in a cake store, she is in the wrong business.

Also, my 2 yr old could have made a better butterfly and he can't even draw a circle. I would have thrown a way bigger fit than you seemed to have. I wouldn't have paid for it either.

Along the same line, why is it when you call a customer service number you get the person that can't/won't speak English? WTF?

Posted by: Mutt at August 1, 2008 10:30 AM

I don't think you were out of line at all. People do get their noses out of joint about the use of some words, retarded being one of them, but that's their issue. Words are words. Use them right and nobody gets hurt.

I am concerned, however, about possible flack from your capitalization of Emo Kid and lack thereof for baby jesus. I'm just saying.

Posted by: Teresa at August 1, 2008 10:31 AM

Oh, and I don't think you were out of line either. I agree with your assessment of the situation and think that the political correctoids go too far pretty often these days.

Posted by: Amy at August 1, 2008 10:34 AM

Anyone who reads you regularly would know what your intent was with those words. And, it's your fricking blog. Seriously people, get over yourselves.

Posted by: k8 at August 1, 2008 10:37 AM

Hell no!

First off, people in the service industry are supposed to provide a SERVICE. The End. I was an angsty, awkward teenager and I was still good at mah damn job. Christ.

Secondly, people are too dammed sensitive. And fuck that shit.

Posted by: caleal at August 1, 2008 10:55 AM

Nope, not out of line in the least. As someone else said, people need to get over themselves and not be so damn "sensitive" or PC about stuff. How about we give a damn about rules and customer service and being - gasp! - polite once again?!?? Man, I miss those days! (Must stop now. Can go on forever on this...)

Hooray for Mia!!!

Posted by: ironic1 at August 1, 2008 11:15 AM

not out of line. people need to lighten the fuck up. for real.

Posted by: sunshine at August 1, 2008 11:17 AM

Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke! LOL. Funny thing about strangers... they don't know you (hence the term, strangers). If they did, they'd reserve judgment. Funny how it's easier to judge strangers.

I've met a ton of good 16 year old service people who were going through awkward times in their lives. That one just needs an ass whooping.

Posted by: Brad at August 1, 2008 11:18 AM

First off...YAY MIA!!!

Secondly, who appointed those people the Blog-police? My understanding of a blog is a place for you to post your thoughts and opinions. If they don't like it they can quit is not your place to edit yourself for their comfort. This is your little piece of cyberspace to be yourself...enjoy it!!!

Also, I did not find your rant at all out of line. You paid for a service you did not receive...and a cake that was hideous.

Posted by: Krush at August 1, 2008 11:19 AM

Yeah, so, I'm the woman who had the problem with the word "retarded" when the person called "retarded" was not actually developmentally disabled, but just acting stupid.

Interesting that I do not consider myself terribly politically correct, although I seem to have managed to piss off many people, including Chris, by suggesting it is painful to those of us who have children who are not typically developing to hear the term used in a way in which it was not meant to be used. The emo kid was silly and teenager-y, and rude, actually, but not retarded. Consider, please, your feelings on the matter if you heard people tossing the word about when it did not actually describe the person, but it did describe your child who is beginning to understand the incredibly negative connotations associated with the term. I feel the same way about the use of the word "gay" to describe something as stupid, because it implies that gay people have something wrong with them. Using "retarded" in that manner also implies that the person who is actually retarded can change their IQ, or can act another way, which they cannot. They can feel pretty shitty when people use the term to put down others, however.

And your commenters are right, Chris, this is your blog, you can say whatever the hell you want. I thought you might be interested in another opinion. I guess I was wrong.

Posted by: SS at August 1, 2008 11:21 AM

Tt absolutely baffles me that you get those kind of responses and have to actually waste ink and energy to rectify them.

You are not out of line. You could start up an entirely new blog with rich content about the lack of service in customer service oriented industries today.

Posted by: steff at August 1, 2008 11:28 AM

It absolutely baffles me that you get those kind of responses and have to actually waste ink and energy to rectify them.

You are not out of line. You could start up an entirely new blog with rich content about the lack of service in customer service oriented industries today.

Posted by: steff at August 1, 2008 11:28 AM

Totally not out of line. There's a standard that we should be able to expect when it comes to customer service, and it should include, at the very least, the clerk looking you in the eye like a real human being.

I just got called out for using the word retard and, not to pimp myself in your comments or anything, wrote about it on my blog just this week. Basically, I think this: knock it off with the over-zealous PC crap, people! I was a little more eloquent (though not much) in my post.

Finally: YAY, MIA!! Rock on with your bad self in your big-girl underpants!

Posted by: heels at August 1, 2008 11:43 AM

Maybe Bathroom Dude heard that you write about bathroom incidents on the internet and didn't want that uh honour. Oops, sorry Bathroom Dude!

Posted by: Missy at August 1, 2008 11:52 AM

Nope. If that emo 16 year old had been an emo 24 year old, you could have had their job. Children have to learn RESPONSIBILITY. You want the pay check? You'd better EARN it. I have worked almost solely in restaurants for my whole life, and I would never have been that aloof, ever when I was 17 working at the bowling alley snack bar.

And the potty training? Word. WORD.

Posted by: Mr Lady at August 1, 2008 12:06 PM

*STANDING OVATION* Thank you for setting that emailer straight. You can guaran-damn-tee that if I'm spending $44 on a cake that was ordered ahead of time and the lame-o at the front counter can't even put forth some sort of effort to find it, I'm going to be direct and quite pointed in my discussion and tone with her.

And as the sister of a developmentally disabled young adult, I found your use of retarded not at all offensive.

Jeebus, people! Get a life!

Posted by: zanie at August 1, 2008 12:22 PM

My friend ordered a cake with a tropical theme for her daughter's birthday. She wanted palm trees, flowers, a beach scene. What she got was a grey hump (island?) with what looked like a brown brontosaurus (palm tree sans fronds, I guess there was hurricane) sticking out of it in the middle of the cake. A teeny tiny brown brontosaurus on a teeny tiny grey island on a huge white sheet cake with Happy Birthday Chelsea written on it in black icing of course! How festive. The cake decorator seemed inordinately proud of the finished product.

Posted by: denise at August 1, 2008 12:46 PM

You're not even a little bit out of line. I recently caught myself second-guessing my use of the word 'retarded' in a manuscript for a scientific journal. My use of the word was correct and appropriate in every way pertaining to what I was describing and it pissed me off that I was worried about using it.

I used it and it'll be published as such.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at August 1, 2008 12:47 PM

I took offense at your insinuation that monkeys on acid can't decorate cakes.

Posted by: GreenCanary at August 1, 2008 1:48 PM

I don't think you were out of line at all.

I was once criticized for describing a man as retarded when he was IN FACT mildly retarded. I think some people just take the whole PC thing waaaay too far.

Posted by: Jennifer at August 1, 2008 1:48 PM

I didn't think you were being a bully about the teenager. If someone can't do the job, no matter how old they are, they shouldn't be there. PERIOD. Having said that I know a lot of teens who would be AWESOME.

If I'd paid that much for a cake I'd be really pissed off too and complain too.

As far as your choice of words, I have to admit that when people use the word "retarded" it rubs me the wrong way. Mostly because my kid used to get called that all the time because other kids don't understand learning disabilities and pegged him as mentally handicapped. He's not. In fact, he is really smart-but the mean ones call him "retard" and say that he should be in the mentally handicapped classrooms (even though he gets better grades then they do!) It is REALLY hurtful and is a social life KILLER in middle school.

(and there's another reason-I blogged about it here..

Basically the word is equal to the word "stupid" in these parts. I mean, where I live we tell our kids not to say "That's so GAY" (again meaning stupid), because we say it's nasty and mean to gay people, so I don't see how "retarded" is any less different. At least gay people have a voice to stand up for themselves-many handicapped kids don't. Retarded many mean delayed-but people have equated it with Stupid. THAT's what makes it politically incorrect, or at least where I live.

Anyway-I've come to the conclusion that people are going to use the word and the best I can do is either ignore it or just educate the kids I work with on how hurtful it is when they use it on each other.

Posted by: Scattered Mom at August 1, 2008 2:01 PM

Way to go Mia.

I thought you were funny, per usual. I volunteer and work with children at a local school and I thought nothing of you using the word retarded. We can't be politically correct all the time.

For the record, I watch my mouth most of the time, but I use retarded and stupid on occasion.

Teenagers are awkward, it's part of growing up. It has nothing to do with your cake fiasco. You ordered and paid for a cake expecting it to look a certain way and what you got was a disgrace. Your reaction was from having a teen wait on you that didn't seem to have a clue about much of anything.

Posted by: Diane at August 1, 2008 2:07 PM

I forgot to add that I realize that Canada and the USA are quite different culturally, and so I was able to look at your use of the word and try to ignore it. Most of my problem with the word is exactly that-my problem.

I do get really irritated though when co-workers of mine, who really should know better, use it. (I work with special needs kids)

Posted by: Scattered Mom at August 1, 2008 2:07 PM

Retarded is far better than saying fucking dumbass.

Or is it?

All I hear is, "Ohhh think of the children" from the Simpsons.

Shall we talk sometime about people text messaging while at work? Constantly text messaging?

Posted by: Amy at August 1, 2008 2:07 PM

i used to work in special education, too, and i was most sensitive to the usage of that word when it was shortened for name-calling: "you're a fucking retard!" as a noun, pronounced with a long e, it hurts people.

but anything can be 'retarded.' your garden hose, for instance, when the water won't flow. or your coffee maker, when you set the timer for 5am but the brewing begins at 9. totally retarded.

or the counter girl at baskin robbins. definitely retarded.

i blame the republicans.

Posted by: jessica at August 1, 2008 2:52 PM

Ok, so the "retarded" line gave me pause and made me sad, because it's a common word in my office (yes, and remember I'm a lawyer). The girl was acting lazy more than anything. I'm sure she was at least of a normal level of IQ, but just didn't care.

As for yelling at her, go for it. Because she is someone who needs some sort of feedback to let her know that it's time to put on the big girl pants. Thank goodness Mia can do that on her own!

Yay, Mia!

Posted by: alektra at August 1, 2008 2:58 PM

No, you are not out of line. And, people won't get called retarded...if they don't act retard. For crying out loud. (maybe you should have talked Chinese to her...) God, that STILL cracks me up.

Posted by: Leticia at August 1, 2008 3:01 PM

"the social skills of an unripened banana." LOL! Too funny.

Yay for potty training! Monkey is trained too, with the occasional accident.

Posted by: Nadine at August 1, 2008 3:53 PM

You weren't out of line at all. As for why, see: above comments.

And maybe that guy who has issues sharing a public bathroom has had one too many weird encounters, much like you, only he's having trouble dealing with it.

Posted by: Fraulein N at August 1, 2008 3:56 PM

As someone who once worked in a grocery store and got blessed out by a customer for not giving a shit, I'd say you aren't out of line! I admit that when that customer got on my case, I was on my way out at that job and truly did not give a shit, but I should have acted more like I did.

So for the love of the baby jesus can't we all stop being so damn politically correct. It's fucking ridiculous. And retarded.

Weekly best sentence. I'm so far from politically correct, it's ridiculous.

Posted by: Stephanie at August 1, 2008 4:40 PM

As a sister to two grown brothers who are developmentally delayed and mother to one Autistic son, I was not offended. Although I kinda wish I had so much free time that I could roam around the internet inventing things to be pissed about. That would totally be better than all this work I've been doin' all week.

Congrats on the potty success, that's awesome!

Posted by: OS at August 1, 2008 5:43 PM


blame it on global warming :)

Posted by: mamacrow at August 1, 2008 6:13 PM

no. awkward time of life my ass. you take a job, you take on the responsibility of it. You have to earn that money. That wasn't about being awkward, that was about someone who didn't care enough to do the job she was hired to do. She will most likely learn the awkward and sensitive lesson of being fired.

Posted by: jodi at August 1, 2008 6:47 PM

You were absolutely NOT out of line. It boggles my mind that someone took the time to chastise you about it. Whatev. LOL

Oh and about your luck with restrooms . . . have you considered asking for a bedside commode like hospitals have for your office? Or at the very least a urinal? ;)

Posted by: Anna at August 1, 2008 7:51 PM

The people who probably told you to lighten up on the emo kid are probably considerably younger than us. They don't know how to work with a smile and work hard for what they want. They are too busy being pissed off that they have to work and think they should be handed everything on a silver platter. I have had this theory for quite some time now, I've labeled it the entitlement factor. I'll be damned if my kids grow up acting like that. I couldn't WAIT to be old enough to get a real job, have my own money, save for a car. Now, these kids have no desire to work, would rather sit around all day eating doritos and watching garbage on tv.

Holy shit, I sound like my parents!

Posted by: joi at August 1, 2008 8:05 PM

The only thing I have to say about political correctness is that it's retarded.

Good job for Mia- girls seem to catch on to the whole bathroom thing easier and earlier.
Have a great weekend.

I laughed out loud when I saw the picture of that butterfly. If it was real, it would fly in circles due to it's lopsidedness.


Posted by: greenie at August 1, 2008 9:47 PM

Saw the turtle story on ABC this morning while I was getting ready for work. Crazy stuff. My first thought was 'why are they tracking a turtle and following it around?' Surely not for crime fighting purposes.

And you were so NOT out of line on the rave-out. I can't wait to see if you get a response from their corporate office!

Posted by: coolchick at August 1, 2008 10:00 PM

I'll have to check out those Ron McLarty books. Not sure how soon, as I've got about 35 books on my shelf waiting to be read, and a long list of ones I want to get...but they're added to the list :)

Where do you find all the time to read so much?!

Posted by: tiffanie at August 2, 2008 12:48 AM

I have no idea from rave-outs, but I'm mightily impressed by the potty training prowess and success.


Props to Mia.

Posted by: Jozet at Halushki at August 2, 2008 2:13 AM

Retarded Emo kids working in public places need to understand that they are there "WORKING" not playing. Adults need to teach them that they have to do some uh...WORK to gain a paycheck.

It's called freedom of speech. I took no offense to your post. In fact I wanted to write the company a letter and tell them their butterfly cake sucks...and I wasn't the one that put out my hard earned money for it..via WORKING for the money..doing...uh WORK.

Posted by: Kristy at August 2, 2008 5:16 PM

Retarded Emo kids working in public places need to understand that they are there "WORKING" not playing. Adults need to teach them that they have to do some uh...WORK to gain a paycheck.

It's called freedom of speech. I took no offense to your post. In fact I wanted to write the company a letter and tell them their butterfly cake sucks...and I wasn't the one that put out my hard earned money for it..via WORKING for the money..doing...uh WORK.

Posted by: Kristy at August 2, 2008 5:16 PM

I have Memory of Running on my "to be read" list. I saw it on your Goodreads list, and meant to ask you what you thought of it. A friend of mine who is also an actor, is friends with the author and recommended I read it. I'll have to pick up a copy soon.

Posted by: lilfootsmommy at August 3, 2008 11:33 AM

Since we no longer use the word "retarded" to refer to folks with Downs Syndrome or other mental disabilities, I'm thinking it's totally up for grabs if you want to use it to refer to someone who is merely stupid. When I say "mental disability" or "mentally challenged" I'm talking about someone suffering from the real deal...and worthy of our compassion and patience. When I say retarded in an offhand way, I'm talking about the gum-smacking teenaged cashier who asked me if I'm old enough to buy the beer I have with me at the store and then asks to see my drivers license. I'm 49 years old, people and there's a line a mile long of unhappy shoppers behind me. Even Ray Charles could have seen that I don't need proof of my age. So there.

Posted by: apathy lounge at August 3, 2008 11:36 AM

Where on earth do you find time to read entire books every week?!

Posted by: Maggie at August 3, 2008 6:36 PM

I'm wondering who's dumber ... the person that made that cake, or the person that paid more than $5.00 for it. :)

I personally don't like seeing people being disrespectful to service workers. In my opinion it shows poor character. If you don't like the service, don't spend your money there. That's how you make a statement. Not by forking over the money like an idiot, then whining about it online to strangers.

P.S. since you are mature enough to give honest criticism, I assume you are mature enough to take it as well. :)


Posted by: Kevin at August 4, 2008 1:20 AM

You are not out of line.
The world has gone mad.
And how irratating are these :)????????

Posted by: Beth at August 4, 2008 1:39 AM

You are not out of line.
The world has gone mad.
And how irritating are these :) ??????

Posted by: Beth at August 4, 2008 1:40 AM

And I had actually thought that you had been too nice at the shop.

Posted by: NM at August 4, 2008 1:14 PM

And I had actually thought that you had been too nice at the shop.

Posted by: NM at August 4, 2008 1:14 PM