I’ll be the first one to admit there is power in words. I love them. I play with them. I twist them and torture them for my own nefarious uses. But enough is enough. Sometimes, I listen to the news and realize there is a politically correct frenzy afoot; there is nothing you can’t add the word American to with a hyphen.

I tell you some people are so sensitive it makes me want to toss a lunch monkey. Please. I am not a fool. I understand that some things are better now. There are some labels that are better served with a spoon full of sensitivity . But c’mon guys. We are all adults here. Everything everyone says isn’t meant to cut you to the bone. Add on the fact that sometimes people are just too stupid to understand the depth and breadth of the meanings of words and you have --Well, basically you have a parrot with a debit card wearing underpants.

Have people ever called me crazy? Oh, I am quite SURE I have been called that. Does that mean I want to be called a Crazy-American? Of course I don’t. I’d have to be crazy to want to be called that. And that is my point.

The label thing. The fear about what people are saying comes from our own fears that the labelers are right. It isn’t a fear that lives at our surface but somewhere deep inside the middle-school area of the brain. The place where we all have to dress alike. Feel alike. Think the same things. Have the same kind of families. The same kind of glasses And shoes. And grades. The place we all have to fit in or die.

The middle-school area of the brain, I like to call the Elementaryeducata, kicks in and screams “WHOA, NELLY” about anything occurring in your life that makes you feel different or uncomfortable. It sends out stress hormones, much like the primal brain sends out stress hormones for snakes and sharks. You may never have seen either before but the first time you do, your brain screams, “RUN LIKE A SON-OF-A-BITCH, MOTHERFUCKER” not…”oh cute, go pet that thing”

I think the thing we need to remember is what people say only has the power pack we give it. Yes, I know. Easier said than done. But consider this. How bad would Fred feel at work if someone yelled, “Ewwww! Everybody look at Fred! He has a big booger hanging out of his nose! “

Now, instead, consider if this guy yelled “Ewww, everybody! Look at Fred. His face is sprouting lime green shag carpeting and there are orange stars, pink hearts, yellow moons and green clover all over it .” This would not nearly be as troubling because, of course, this is ridiculous. Fred would most likely shake his head and go back to work, and so would everyone else. On the other hand, it’s entirely possible to Fred that he might just have had that hanger, sending him running to the nearest men’s room to have a peek.

My point is you really need to come to grips with your own feelings about yourself because that is what effects how you hear what people say about you. I, for one, do not want to be called a Bipolar-American. It smacks of pretension. If you know yourself, you’ll know if you have a booger hanging out. More importantly, you will know if you don’t. Self-knowledge allows you to just chalk up the offensive labeler as an asshole. Or should I say, Asshole-American?

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