Warning: proceed no further if you’re one of those overly sensitive types who is easily offended. You’re no fun, by the way.
Mamacita says: Grammar. I love grammar. It’s such a fantastic segue to. . . well, pretty much anything.
A student once asked me if it was true that a person could go to hell for saying “shit.” (Not as a noun; as a statement of emotion.)
(It’s an interjection, set off by a comma or an exclamation point, so he really wasn’t too much off topic, and apparently it was on his mind.)
He said that his preacher had told him that he was going to hell because he said ’shit.’ I was more than a little bit flabbergasted, for a variety of reasons.
One, I’m still not used to adult students who say ’shit’ a lot and I don’t have to give them detention or pretend to be shocked.
Two, someone in a position of authority in this kid’s life has scared the shit OUT of him, for saying shit. So much so that this quiet well-behaved kid (who apparently has a potty mouth in church) asked his college instructor if it were true.
I have no desire to enter into any kind of debate with this boy’s preacher. I already dislike the guy too much. Neither is it my place to talk religious doctrine to my students.
But I do know a lot about shit. I had two babies, remember? And I taught in the public school system for a long, long time. I’m not really sure which of the two had the worst shit. I think probably the schools. When it comes to shit, the non-organic kind is always worse; it sticks to your heart for a long, long time, whereas we can scrape the organic kind off the bottoms of our shoes. Or walk it off; it depends on where you already are and where you’re going. The organic kind can be removed; the non-organic kind can’t.
So I explained to him that some people believed that being profane was a sin, but even so, ’shit’ is not a profanity, it’s an obscenity, so going to hell isn’t part of the package. The commandments are about profanity, not obscenity.
He was really relieved. He’ll probably also continue to say shit in the preacher’s presence. If my preacher was that stupid, I probably would, too.
I mean, honestly, a minister should know the difference between obscenity and profanity. They are not the same thing. Not a bit. Get a clue, preach. Then maybe he would refer to you as his “minister” instead of as a ‘preacher.’ There’s a big difference between THOSE two words, too.
We also discussed the word “condemn,” its presence in the chapter today being perfection on a stick, and going right along with the student’s question, because to condemn someone is also a profanity. We’ve watered down the word, but its point of origin was pithy and terrible.
I wanted to tackle “awesome” and “awful,” but we ran out of time. Next week, dear students. Mark your calendars; it’ll be awesome.
When I finally got home tonight, I was too tired to do any cleaning; this devastated me as those of you who know me can attest. The cats were sitting in my chair, as I discovered when I sat on them and they scratched me. Well, who could blame them? Talk about intruding on an already-claimed space.
It hurt. I might have said ’shit,’ too. I had no witnesses, so you’ll never know.