It’s been around for years, maybe even a century or two. I remember the first time I heard it was when I was a child living in the small village of Marshallton on the outskirts of West Chester, PA. I don’t know why I hold onto that day, that moment, so vividly. I was about 7 or 8 years old.
I’m fairly sure my Dad didn’t MEAN to use it so harshly, but I didn’t clean my room like I was supposed to one afternoon and he totally shocked me when he spit forth the N word like a dart, just because I didn’t do what I was supposed to do. I remember feeling hurt and I had to ask my mother what that word meant as she lowered her eyes and shook her head. I think I even cried a little that day.
Another time a schoolmate of mine used the N word when I “broke up” with her in the sixth grade. We had an elementary relationship really. I wrote her name on MY notebooks with hearts all around it, she wrote mine on hers. I didn’t, however, walk her home or have the balls to kiss her on the playground (I mean it WAS the sixth grade). I ended it one late Spring afternoon, as I totally ignored her when I wanted to play kickball more than sit on the swing set with her. I didn’t think someone that age could be so blunt, so mean as to just throw that N word into my face, into my young world.
We’re all guilty of using the N word at one time or another; mostly in relationships. One never realizes the amount of energy it takes to create a truly solid relationship with tons of trust building and basic respect. However, once the N word starts rearing its ugly head, the partnership is doomed to failure and all that you’re left with is shame and disgust.
This morning, while trying to find one of my favorite ties to wear to work I found one of them on the floor behind my closet door. I questioned Daryl on it’s location and he scoffed at me saying that he had used it for work at his evening job a night or two ago and simply forgot to put it back in it’s proper place. My blood pressure immediately shot up and without thinking, I blurted out the N word at Daryl. I watched in horror as the color drained from his face immediately, as he shot back “How DARE you call me a Nincompoop!”
We haven’t spoken to each other for hours.