Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Words have power, not as much power as sticks and stones but still . . .

When I was a little person and my brother would call me a stupid poo-poo head my mother always said, “Sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you.” Which was my signal to pick up a stick or a stone and try to break my brother’s bones.

The closest I ever came to actual fratricide was trying to stab my brother, the pest, was with a butter knife loaded with peanut butter. I missed. The peanut butter flew off. Shocked, we stopped fighting long enough to look for an errant glob of peanut butter. We failed. Six months later, our mom found the peanut butter—petrified and frozen to the open beamed ceiling of our kitchen.

I believe she called us, “Stupid poo-poo heads.”

My grandsons understand the punch words can have. Unfortunately, they don’t understand the concept of TOO MUCH.

Rare is special. A dash is spicy. Occasionally can be funny. But too much is . . . 

“Poo-poo YaYa,” Griffin (age 3) told me. I’d said something hideous to him like no.

“I will punch your poo-poo head.” I heard an anonymous someone mutter to another anonymous someone.

“My eyes are burning poo-poo.” I don’t know who said that; who can keep track? It doesn’t even make sense.

And on it goes.

Until finally, you hear yourself yelling, “Okay, that’s it. The next person who uses the word poo-poo in a sentence is going to get time-out in the poo-poo poop chair of poo-poo pain.” 


Using the exact same word excessively is excessive. The words loose their punch. The message comes out muddled. People quit listening. Communication becomes a monotonous pile of . . . sameness. 

It’s how I feel about the F word and the phrase “the fact of the matter is” or “having said that” or “everyone does it” or “those conservatives are poo-poo heads or "liberals are poo-poo babies.”

Time to elevate the conversation, folks, otherwise everyone sounds like a three-year old, or we can just go at each other with sticks and stones.

Linda (Pithy Patter) Zern 

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