Wednesday, April 2, 2008

About skanks, and the lessons we should learn

Or skags.
So today we're going to lunch and George Clooney came up, don't ask me how. Because we want to marry him but some of us are more available to him than others. If only he were more available to us.
And Sarah said of his girl-thing, I have to admit I'm upset with him because his girlfriend is so skanky.
And I said, I forgive him but I don't know why he has to date a skank. Also, I didn't know she was skanky--I really didn't know much about her.
And I was thinking that skank might be my new favorite word.
So later in the car, we begin to speak of our high school experiences--again, I don't know how.
And, still thinking of skanks, I mentioned that back when I was in high school, we did not use the word "skank" -- we used "skag." Or said somebody was "skaggy."
Sarah said they used "skank."
Now, I'm talking '70s northern Ohio vernacular. Sarah is talking '80s South Bend vernacular.
So we turned to Beth, and asked her what her friends in mid '70s Minnesota called "skanks" or "skags." And she had to think a minute. And think.
And all she could come up with was "mean."
Mean doesn't mean the same as skank or skag, we told her. A skank might or might not be mean.
I don't know, Beth said. I don't think I know what the word might be. I was really nice in high school. Nicer than I am now. I got voted Best Walk, and Friendliest.
That revelation stopped us in our conversation.
Because Beth, today, is the nicest, friendliest person I know, and I really have a hard time imagining her any nicer or friendlier.
But I can imagine her being kind to the skankiest, skaggiest girls in school--the girls no one would talk to, or that got made fun of, or that would sit by themselves in the lunch room. That's the kind of person she is, even as a grownup--whomoever needs the hug, whomever seems lonely, whomever needs a lift up, Beth is the one to count on to be there.
I'd vote her friendliest, today. (Although I'm not so sure about "best walk" -- that might go to George.)
I have no idea if George Clooney's girlfriend is a skank, or not. I think she may have allowed some very ill-adviced photos to be taken, but there you are. If Beth had been in the room with her, she would have counseled against the photos, and given the young woman a hug, too, and told her what a nice person she was--the word "skank" would never have been mentioned.
I'm not vowing never to use the label "skank." It might have its uses. But I'm going to think twice about how I use it, and in reference to who. Because I hope I've learned something since 1974.
How about you? Skank, skag, or no label at all? Who are you voting "best walk"?

1 comment:

Ru said...

bwahahah I love Beth. I miss not working there and being in on all of that!!