A few days ago I was driving around my sparkling city in central Kentucky, doing a little vehicular mingling with the citizenry. Though it's sometimes difficult to judge in traffic, the education level seem to fall into the "acceptable" range. Occasionally that may dip to "sub-par," but what do you expect? It's Kentucky. Every time we're on the national news it's for basketball, the Derby, or reactions to regional disasters. Whatever the reason, the broadcasters invariably find the loudest, drunkest redneck stereotype and poke the first non-karaoke related microphone he's ever seen right up to his gap-toothed yodeler. It doesn't matter if it's tornado devastation in Big Bone Lick or the natives of Moonshine Falls commenting on UK advancing to the Final Four: the news always strikes in a trailer park. The folks that make it on screen begin shouting in a patois so thick it would be gibberish to the clan one holler over. It's impossible to tell if they're excited or are demanding to be airlifted out of whatever hellish rural armpit the last flash flood washed them into. It's no wonder the rest of the country thinks our boycotts on shoes and dental work extend to elementary education as well.
Even though many Kentuckians are indignant at this media representation, there's no doubt this place -- like every other place -- is full of retards. Jam-packed to capacity with slack-jawed cretins who are far more arrogant about their ignorance than I am about my intelligence.
I was behind just such a person on my recent drive. Of course, I don't know for SURE that he or she was a fuck-witted bug eater, but I did have one piece of visual evidence to go on: a bumper sticker. I say "a bumper sticker" so casually, as if it were just another "Obama/Biden" advert, or the idiotic but innocuous "Coexist." Oh, no. Not at all, friends. This sticker displayed such a proud stupidity that I could barely catch my breath. And not from laughing, either. From the magnificent horror that I share this planet with people who are genetic dead ends.
The sticker affixed to the car in front of me read "I pray. Get use to it." After five minutes of swerving all over the road and goosing my front bumper as close as I could to their rear bumper, I was finally satisfied that the "d" I was so desperately searching for really wasn't there.
This led me to the understanding that there were three primary things wrong with this sticker, no doubt corresponding to equally egregious defects in the person behind the wheel. The first problem deals with grammar, the second with society and the third with misplaced aggression.
The grammar problem is obvious. At least, it should be obvious to anyone capable of reading this article. "I pray. Get use to it." Exactly one hundred percent of the English speaking population over age seven should be able to write that second sentence correctly. Or at least identify the glaring error and not display it on their vehicle.
It's not like this is one of those tricky grammatical problems that many people struggle with. It's not "i before e except after c" or deciding between "farther" and "further" or "affect" and "effect." It's not even as complex as figuring out "your" and "you're," which is so easy that mix ups should be punished by genital mutilation. This is grammar at its simplest. So simple, in fact, that if you grew up speaking English it should be damn near intuitive with minimal schooling required. It's not as if you need to find the fucking pluperfect or something. Just say the sentence out loud: "Get used to it, fucker! I like to pray!" Yeah. That sounds right. Or how about "Damn, y'all! I didn't use to pray this much!" That's sounds pretty fine, too, doesn't it? You know why? Because both are grammatically correct. It would have required exactly five percent brain power and two percent book learnin' to correctly write the phrase "get used to it."
The second problem I see with this bumper sticker is a societal issue. Most people are irritated with those of us who constantly carp about bad grammar. They think we're pedantic fuckwads. For the most part, they are correct. However, they also believe that we should just get over it and let everyone speak the way they choose. People don't think this issue is important but, in fact, it's quite important. Language is a precise tool, and an elegant one. Used correctly, it can express almost anything. Used incorrectly, it becomes an ugly, clumsy thing that bludgeons its subject and demeans the user. And, when it's wielded with the wild inaccuracy that's become so ubiquitous, everyone suffers as common communication becomes more difficult and less exact.
As a writer, I'm constantly striving to further my own skills with the English language. It just so happens I focus most of these efforts on creating the perfect dick joke. But whatever. I don't think everyone needs to have my particular mindset on this subject. I love reading and I love writing; those things helped create my affinity for the written and spoken word. At the same time, I believe the widespread abuse of simple grammar is largely inexcusable. Despite the fact that most folks never need to write anything more involved than an email, that doesn't mean those emails should be riddled with "their" instead of "they're," "alot," "supposably," and "y'all," which is pretty much the only contraction you can count on a Kentuckian to know. There is absolutely no reason for American adults not to know the difference between "then" and "than."
I'm just talking about a basic grasp of the English language here. I don't expect people to be able to identify the literary devices in Moby Dick, goddammit; just stop saying asinine shit like "Where you want to eat at?" Remember the big question when you were in school? The one some kid always broke out when he had to diagram a sentence, or find the value of x, or run a mile in gym class even though no one was chasing him? "When am I ever going to use this?" The teacher always responded the same way, regardless of the subject: "All the time." Turns out some of them were right. Not the fuckers who taught algebra, though. I've gone out of my way to make sure never to use that shit. But English? Yeah, as your native tongue, you really do use it all the time. What's more, it's helpful to sound as if you learned it in an actual school as opposed to the side of a Skoal can. On a daily basis, I certainly don't use the same level of mathematics that a research chemist does, but I damn sure don't divide by zero when I balance my checkbook. I follow the laws of basic math. Perhaps you don't possess my vocabulary or love of language, but when I ask if you want something from the store and you say "Naw, I don't want nothin," be prepared: I will indeed be bringing you at least one item.
Unfortunately, society as a whole doesn't care about language unless it's lobbying to get "muffin top" put into the Oxford English Dictionary. Apart from writers and teachers, very few members of society give a flying titty fuck about the vast and easily identifiable difference between "averse" and "adverse." That means we end up with ludicrous bumper stickers like "I pray. Get use to it" that have obviously made it through various levels of production, retail, and consumption without anyone noticing the overt mistake.
The final problem with this sticker is the misplaced aggression behind it. The occupant of this car is telling everyone that, despite the widespread persecution of America's vastly Christian populace, he or she will continue to pray, perhaps in public places, perhaps even in schools, and we had better get use to it.
This is a common misconception in modern times: the idea that Christians are being constantly discriminated against, their values debased and their way of life destroyed. We can see this evidenced, well...nowhere, actually. If Christians weren't in charge here, we wouldn't have a 27 million dollar Creation Museum in Kentucky. We wouldn't have 55 percent of our population convinced that the Rapture is a real event. We also wouldn't have the majority of the country constantly voting against gay marriage because the Bible so clearly states that faggotry is wrong. This country is hundreds of years away from electing an atheist President and at least 25 years away from a woman having total control over her own body.
This notion that Christians and their beliefs are being hounded comes from the continually enforced separation of Church and State, which offends many of the invisible-superman-in-the-sky-crowd. No one cares if you pray, turd brains, but we DO care if you want to lead a fifth grade class in prayer before homeroom, or after a high school football game that Jesus definitely helped you win. I've been working in restaurants for 15 years and I've seen thousands of people pray before their meal. It's only a big deal when you come running up to the table with the bread you've forgotten on the last three trips and yell "OH MY GOD I'M SO SORRY HERE'S YOUR BREAD HOW IS EVERYTHING??" Then you realize they're all holding hands, heads bowed, eyes closed, and you are the biggest infidel shitface in the world.
Prayer in public is no big deal. It's not hurting anyone, it's quiet, contemplative, and completely inoffensive. Matter of fact, I wish MORE people would pray in public. That's less time I'd have to spend talking to them and more time I could spend knocking down their children and running away giggling.
The fact that the 3rd District Court in Possum Crick, AR can't legally pray before proceedings commence in no way affects where, and how often, you as a private citizen can pray. I am used to you praying because I live in a nation full of Christians. I see churches on every corner and I watch legislation live or die based on what you believe. No one is persecuting you. If, however, you are going to throw your reactionary thoughts out there for everyone to see, learn how to spell, dick.