Now that William Safire has died, it seems the responsibility for commenting on this nation’s usage of its unofficial “official” language falls to me.
It’s a daunting endeavor, but one I embark on nonetheless.
The first linguistic issue to be addressed is our culture’s recent over-reliance on one specific noun.
That noun? DOUCHE.
Just a few years ago, calling someone a douche was a very effective retort. It succinctly popped whatever air was filling someone’s big head, while still retaining some of the danger which accompanies the use of foul language. Now, you can’t go ten minutes without hearing someone use it. For god’s sake, there’s an article in the New York Times about it today. Things have taken an odd turn.
So, when did it all go wrong?Â The best way to track the larger cultural usage is to retrace one person’s path, from occasional utterance to rhetorical crutch to out and out overuse. That person is me.
I can remember my first time. It was 1998 at the Golden Bell Diner in Freehold, New Jersey. Sitting with a bunch of friends after a night out, someone known to SCP readers as BShrek said something obnoxious and jerky. A response was needed. No one else was responding. I decided to step up and said “Don’t be a douche.”
The response was immediate and thrilling! I got laughs. (Really, that’s all that happened. The rest of the table laughed.) They say it only takes one hit of heroin to make you an addict for life. The same applies for using the word Douche.
Over the next decade, I called people douche or used an ever growing roster of douche related alternatives (douchebag, douchlick, douchey, etc.) Pretty soon, I found myself using it at work. Ultimately, it became a verbal tick. The word had lost all meaning to me. It was simply my go-too insult.
Things got ridiculous. A simple search of this sight finds no less than 40 separate posts in which I use the word. Included in that is a massive multi-part series in which I set out to name the biggest douche in all of sports.
Enough already. Enough for me and enough for all of us. Let’s get more creative with our insults. Let’s call people dick or ass lick or cuntface. Let’s try to return douche to its former glory by putting it back under glass and saving it for special occasions.Â Like this one:
“Curt Schilling is a massive douche bag”
Saying that never gets old.