INTERVIEW NUMBER: 36. DATE: 5.8.2011 TIME: 1530
ME: Tell me in your own words what it was comparable to that first day:
JANE DOE 14: It was terrible. I was in high school at the time, so you can imagine the chaos and confusion that ensued once the law was officially passed. My best friend, Cindy-Lou, cried for approximately two weeks, terrified that she might slip up. We were all pretty scared, I mean high schoolers were the primary target, so… yeah, it was bad.
ME: So how did you cope? What kind of things did you do to adjust?
JANE DOE 14: All of my friends and I came up with this strategy, it was pretty smart actually. Instead of using the forbidden word we would practice using filler words instead. We tried to make a game of it, you know… so some of the pressure was alleviated a bit. At the end of the previous day, someone would be designated to pick the filler word for the next day. We chose all kinds of crazy, bizarre words, watermelon, Slurpee, jet-ski, Panama… anything. Soon we were trying to see how many times we could use the filler word that day, which also helped us focus on not using the forbidden word.
ME: Interesting, so that worked?
JANE DOE 14: Oh yeah, it took a little time, and a few of us received some 1’s and 2’s but nothing serious. Our strategy actually helped me develop a more expansive vocabulary, not that I would have admitted it at the time. Trying to think of new and interesting words to use as fillers actually ended up being pretty educational.
ME: I see… I’m sure the authorities would be pleased to hear that. Other than your improved vocabulary, have there been any other changes in your life since the law was enacted?
JANE DOE 14: In the first few years of the enactment, I was on edge constantly. The forbidden word had been in my top 7 words of use, so I was dealing with a pretty severe case. Eventually, I got used to, just as everyone did, and now I can’t really remember what the big deal was in the first place.
INTERVIEW NUMBER: 37. DATE: 5.8.2011 TIME: 1700
ME: Tell me in your own words what it was comparable to that first day.
JOHN DOE 23: I celebrated. I brought out my best scotch, sat on my front porch and laughed at all the riffraff walking by as if an A-bomb had just dropped. Best day of my life.
ME: So you were in favor of Bill 95.4.187?
JOHN DOE 23: Damn straight. It was about time someone did something, the whole English language was going down the crapper and no one was doing a thing about it! If you ask me it was just what this country needed to get back to our roots, back to our proud heritage. Made me proud to be an American… those boys on Capitol Hill, they finally got one right.
ME: So you did not find the law too restrictive? Did you have any difficulty adjusting once the law was enacted?
JOHN DOE 23: Well everybody had to adjust in some respect, but I was glad to do my part. The forbidden word was only in my top 231 words of use, so as long as I thought before I spoke I was fine. And isn’t that the point anyway? To THINK before you SPEAK? People forgot their heads back in those days and Bill 95.4.187 changed that. Things are better now. No doubt about it.
INTERVIEW NUMBER: 38. DATE: 5.8.2011 TIME: 2100
ME: Tell me in your own words what it was comparable to that first day.
JANE DOE 15: I remember exactly where I was when I heard. I had just gotten back from Big Lots and was in the kitchen getting dinner ready. I always listened to the radio in those days, and my normal program was suddenly interrupted as the President came on to make the announcement. I was in shock. I let the rice boil all over the stove for who knows how long before I snapped out of it. You have to understand, my two children were in the 8th and 10th grade at the time, so I wasn’t so much concerned for myself, but for them. You know how many times the forbidden word was used in that age bracket. The numbers were alarming and I couldn’t risk my babies being given a 10 and snatched away for re-boot camp. I wouldn’t let that happen.
ME: So how did you handle it? What did you and your children do to adapt?
JANE DOE 15: We panicked at first. I put duct tape over their mouths for a few hours that first day, I’ll never forget their faces. Not a proud moment for me, I confess. Eventually we figured something out. We each would carry around a notebook and if we wished to speak, we would first write it out quickly and only once the sentence was checked for the forbidden word would we repeat the words out loud. That went on for about 4 months until we no longer need the notebooks, we had eliminated the word from our memory.
ME: So glad to hear it. Very well done. Can I ask, what was the worse score you ever received on the Likert Scale?
JANE DOE 15: Oh, sure…um, let’s see. I believe there was one instance in the first month or so where I misspoke and received a 3. It was awful, but when the fine was automatically deducted from my bank account and after the 80 hours of service in our community library, it was enough to help me be more mindful and avoid future mistakes.
THIS CONCLUDES TODAY’S SERIES OF INTERVIEWS. LET THE DATA SHOW THAT THREE INTERVIEWS WERE CONDUCTED ON MAY 8, 2011 AS PART OF THE NATIONWIDE TWENTY YEAR REVIEW PROJECT OF BILL 95.4.187.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: While enjoying a delicious meal at Tijuana Flats this evening, I was lucky enough to be in ear-shot of two delightful high school girls engrossed in a very intellectual conversation at the table next to me. They were talking earnestly about one of the young ladies’ current relationship with an unknown gentleman and what she should do, having recently caught the gentleman in an ostentatious fabrication of the worst kind.
“I just like, you know, like really like him, and I like, really wish he would like, I don’t know, like stop lying to me cause it like, really like hurts me. I’m a very sensitive and like, deep person, you know? And like this kind of immature behavior is like total bull.”
I kid you not, that was very close to their actual conversation…and her friend was no better, believe me. I eventually started counting how many times they each used the word ‘like’ in a sentence. I think the high score ended up being around 10 (and that’s just in ONE sentence, for the love of St. Pete!). I swear to God my ears started bleeding just being in close proximity of such a butchery of our beautiful language. It made me wonder aloud to my boyfriend, who was greatly amused at my sporadic cringing, what if that word, “like” was removed from the language and couldn’t be used without being subject to some type of punishment. How would people handle it? What would they do? I’ll tell you this much, I’d be able to enjoy my nachos in peace, that’s for sure. (Am I, like, an old grumpy lady or what?!?)
TWO: The filler word Slurpee was used in the story because I tried a new Slurpee concoction today and had to share… first you put Coke on the bottom then Lime w/Vanilla, then Coke again, topping it off with more lime. IT. WAS. AWESOME. If you have a 7-Eleven within 25 miles I would seriously recommend going to pick up one of these bad boys. I don’t think you’ll be sorry.
THREE: Anyone else out there in blogland a fan of Big Lots? Sorry, but just had to mention them today because they kind of made my day. Several months ago while picking up pictures at Walgreens I noticed this glass jar on the counter. When I pressed the demo button a very life-like butterfly would magically fly around and flutter about. I was fascinated. For whatever reason (read: short on funds) I did not purchase this novelty. I have regretted that decision ever since… until today. While strolling the aisles in search of bug spray, guess what I stumbled upon? You guessed it, my magic butterfly in a jar. I bought two (one for my mamaw, who was scared of it at first but I think she’ll warm up to it).
Love & Squirrels.