I am SO retarded

We were out in front of the house the other night. The girls were playing with a couple of kids from around the neighborhood. Most of the kids I knew, but one was knew to the AtwoodZoo.

In the middle of a game they were playing, the new kid just blurted out "I am SO retarded."

The laser-intensity in the looks that Kenzo and Mabel gave the new kid could have melted steel. Suzie was unaware. The Beautiful Bride and I cringed.

The game went on.

It reminded me of something I had written here a few months ago…

Heard someone use the "R" word again. And I suppose I am more than a bit sensitive to it, as the dad of an amazing, darling "retarded" ten-year-old daughter.

The "R" word. It seems cool, so flip, so easy to just bounce off the tongue to make light of a mistake or forgetfulness or error. But as I think about it a bit more, "retarded" is an adjective describing a condition in a person, not describing the person. For example, we could say that "he is a man who is mentally retarded," or "she has mental retardation." Not "she is retarded."

It may seem like I am splitting hairs here, but I wonder how come people don’t adopt sayings in a similar way if they don’t happen to feel well. Just as they say "I am so retarded" when they do something wrong or make a silly error maybe we could encourage people, when they don’t feel well, to say things like :

I am SO cancerous.

I am so AIDS.

I am SO Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Seems amazingly paradoxical to me that it is (appropriately) offensive to make light of physical conditions, but to many it is downright funny or just socially cool to make light of an intellectual condition.

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Posted on March 29, 2007, in Dad stuff. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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