On Terminology

After watching the Cubs :cubs: dispatch the Blue Jays 7-4 this afternoon, I flipped the television over to MASN to catch the end of the Orioles/Pirates game.

The Orioles had coughed up a couple of runs earlier in the game, had clawed back to 4-2, and then, moments after I switched the channel, I watched as Brian Roberts launched a two run homer into the left field bleachers to tie the game in the bottom of the 9th (with 2 outs, no less), giving Pirates closer Matt Capps his third blown save of the week.

I explain all this as background.

The game went into the tenth inning. And as it was a commercial break, I went upstairs.

My grandmother stopped me. “Who’s the jackass talking?”

“What?” I said, confused.

“There’s some jackass talking.”

“There’s no one talking.”

“I hear him. You’re talking to some jackass about me.”

“I’m watching television.”

She scowled at me, probably thinking that I was hiding from her that I was speaking to a “jackass,” probably about her. When in reality, it was Jim Palmer on the television, talking about the O’s.

That’s typical.

Anything she hears, she assumes is someone talking about her. And anyone she thinks she hears is automatically a “jackass.”

She sleeps wrong, and her neck hurts? “Some jackass broke into the house and did something to my neck.”

Her skin is dry and itchy? “Some jackass broke into the house and threw acid on me.”

She can’t find tea bags? “Some jackass broke into the house and took the tea bags.”

She hears a car pass on the road? “Some jackass just drove off, and he was looking in all the windows.”

I’m not sure what in her mind makes these phantoms automatic jackasses. I wonder if she even realizes that she’s using the word “jackass” with a strange regularity.

The odd thing about writing this post? I don’t think I’ve used the word “jackass” in years. If ever. It was never a part of my vocabulary. I find it linguistically unexciting.

But to my grandmother, it’s a handy linguistic tag to describe the people that exist solely in her mind.

At least she doesn’t mean it literally.

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