Everybody reminds me that name-calling is an "inappropriate" way to express my dissatisfaction with another because it's "disrespectful" or some bullshit. The other day the HR Assistant Director at my work explained how she wants to stop seeing me in her office for calling my coworkers "pinheads" and "dipshits." Evidently these terms qualify as "derogatory." No kidding, lady. That's the effect I was going for. Do you want me to compliment Carl for taking half a day to answer the phone? Anyway, then she throws a pamphlet in my face about how our organization values respect for coworkers. Do you see the irony here? She would show me far more respect calling me a jerk than by reading me a pamphlet full of propaganda and newspeak. I understand the word "jerk." I can deal with it. I don't understand pamphlets full of psychobabble and PCBS (politically correct bullshit). Hey HR lady, why don't you lift the frank and kiss the beans?
Name-calling is quick and efficient (like good lovemaking). The practice of name-calling is like a filing system. It keeps all the players organized in one's head. Would you keep all your documents in a big pile and read each one as you needed to identify it? No. You draft a system of files. Then you put each different kind of document in the appropriate file. That way you don't have to read every document 17 times. People are the same way. Why should I have to listen to what somebody has to say just to rediscover he's a dipshit? I'm a fair guy. Everybody gets a chance to establish a reputation with me. But once I know what kind of person I'm dealing with, I'm stamping a label on him/her and filing them in my mental cabinet. If some unfortunate soul earns the label of "dipshit," I'll immediately know to discount everything he says without considering its credence. Name-calling (even if one does it in the privacy of one's mind) is a time-saver.
The virtue of name-calling resides in making conflicts personal. After all, it's not so much the annoying behavior I despise. It's the guy doing it. Absent him, the annoying behavior would never have a chance to happen. So calling the actor a name makes sense. It's quick and efficient. For example, I work with this guy, Carl. Fuckin' Carl! I could approach Carl "respectfully"and say something like
"Hey Carl. I'd like to dialogue with you for a moment about a problem I see developing. Although I respect you as a person and a colleague, I take exception to you chewing the ass-end of your pen all day while I do all the work. To wit, the most productive thing you've done today was to take a dump between the hours of nine and ten. I need some more help around the office. I know you'd like to contribute more than feces and gnarly pens to our organization. So let's work toward a win-win scenario."
I'm sorry I had to drag the reader through that rhetorical crap. Look at all those wasted words in the above exchange between Carl and me. I belabored that issue to death. Yet the crux of my reproach remains unclear; I've diluted it with feel-good verbiage. Watch how I could have handled Carl instead:
"Carl? You're a weapons-grade dipshit." Or, I could have called Carl a douchebag. This is what Shakespeare meant when he wrote the immortal passage "a rose by any other name is just as sweet." A Carl by any other name is just as big a dipshit.
Do you see how much more effective the latter example was? Unencumbered with the duty of respect for my coworkers, I was able to express my idea succinctly. And with the time I saved I could pick up Carl's slack – which is what my thankless boss expects from me, anyway. Hey, maybe I could appeal to HR for a "dipshit premium" whereby I make two bucks per hour more when I work with Carl. I think I'll propose that the next time HR summons me.
I hope you'll consider shedding the societal edict of "no name-calling" as I have. Don't bow to peer-pressure and convention. Think independently just like the bumper sticker tells you. Name-calling isn't so bad. In fact, it's a virtue. It will enrich your life. It will reduce stress at the workplace. It will improve marital relations. It may even get you out of a traffic ticket. And it will most definitely help you watch TV, especially the evening news.