Saturday, February 25, 2006

New Feature: Bastard of the Day

I've been toying with this idea for a long while. This feature will be predicated on my First Theory of the Universe, which says that everyone was put here to irritate me, one way or another, at some point in time. Self-centered, I know, but bear with me. Whether it is a faceless corporation screwing me out of a rebate, a cell phone-toting motorist who nearly runs me over, or even my own dog clawing a radiator reflector to shreds in vain pursuit of a mouse, some entity irritates me daily. Some are worse than others, of course, and I won't bother to blog about them every single day, just the more interesting, frustrating, or egregious ones. Sometimes I will even include "If I were the bastard..." detailing what I would do to avenge my mistreatment. Frankly, this is all about catharsis.

I won't limit myself to those who impact me personally, though. For example, there was a news story a few weeks ago about drug smugglers using puppies as "mules" to transport their contraband. Obviously, those guys were bastards, and I would be remiss not to mention them. Dick Cheney shooting a hunting partner? Yep, a bastard. Even more bastardly than usual.

I know some people consider bastard to be a harsh word, but I've always liked it. Perhaps it is generational. I know my dad doesn't like the way I toss the word around, and trust me, he's no stranger to colorful language (as a three-year-old, I learned "bullshit" hanging around with him while he worked on his car, and I won't even repeat what he says to the TV when his football team is floundering). But when I was in high school, bastard was a favorite word, even among friends, for someone who did something that wasn't nice, regardless of severity -- whether you took the last piece of pizza or set your parents' house on fire, our collective response was, "You bastard!" Similarly, the Bastard of the Day will vary -- all bastards are not equal. My dog's bastardly transgressions are inferior to those of Dick Cheney.

As an invective, "bastard" occupies a position somewhere between "asshole" and "jerk." The former is too explicit, but the latter is too weak. Although I considered the quaint appeal of "rapscallion" for this feature, ultimately I prefer "bastard." Coming up next, the first Bastard of the Day...

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