There is a word that used to be highly offensive in the past but seems to have worked itself into the common vernacular of popular culture. It still offensive, but it’s getting close to becoming the next “sucks” —still kinda bad but we’ve learned to live with it. I am hesitant to write about it, but the word has become surprisingly informative for our own social welfare. The word is… ok wait… I’ll just say it once, get the uncomfortable squirmyness out of the way and then I have an idea. Ok, here goes nothing:
Some of you will not read any further after seeing this and let me just say I understand. There are words that turn me off too. I hate the words “penalize” and “slacks” for instance. I know they’re not offensive but I hate them all the same. So, I have an idea. I will simply type “deuce” in its place for the rest of this blog entry. If the word bothers you, then just pronounce it in your head the way I’m spelling it. For those of you who have developed a calloused heart from hanging out with the wrong crowd and playing too many video games: well, you know how to pronounce it.
When once-offensive words become commonplace we can sometimes get that “what-is-this-world-coming-to??” feeling. Knowing this, when I was living in the southern US I didn’t admit to people that I grew up saying “frig.” My Hungarian friend refrained from his colloquial use of “hell” when he was attending a Bible college in rural New Brunswick. I think we can all understand that different words are distasteful to some and not to others. But to change our own language and begin to accept a word that was once unacceptable is never easy. Even OMG doesn’t have to bother Christians as much as it does. God’s name is not “God.” The Old Testament law forbade people from using his name in vain, which was Jehovah or Yahweh. Today you could probably say either of those in vain around Christians and get away with it easier than you would by forgetting to drop the d and add the sh when expressing shock and surprise.
So back to deuce, deuciness and deucebaggary. Understanding what people mean in the use of this term is important. This isn’t just another nasty name to call someone you are upset with. There are plenty of those. No, a true deucy person is one who displays very specific characteristics that are highly repulsive to the general society. A deuce is someone who is full of himself, thoughtless and rude to others, infinitely tacky, and has little to no self-awareness. Deuces even have a dress code. The following quiz may be helpful:
1. Do you have a pair of penny loafers in your closet?
2. Would you ever consider draping your sweater on your back and tying the arms around your lower neck/upper chest?
3. Do you wear cologne or perfume that could possibly be considered “extra strength”?
4. Do you unbutton your shirt so that at least a hockey puck sized patch of hair (or shaved chest) is showing?
5. Do you have a tattoo of a rebel flag, barbed wire or Chinese lettering?
6. Do you pop up the collar of your golf shirt?
7. Do you wear your Bluetooth earpiece when you’re not using it?
8. Do you wear sunglasses inside?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may be a deuce. But it’s not that shallow. Being a deuce is much more than
a dress code. It involves behaviour as well, of course. Here’s another deucy quiz:
1. Do you butt in line at the bank, customer service desk, or any line that involves a meal at the end?
2. Do you flex your muscle when taking a swig of Monster energy drink or Pepsi Max?
3. Is it your hope that Habitat for Humanity does NOT build a house in your neighbourhood because it would lower the resale value of your home?
4. Do you like to exclaim “Nice!” in a sarcastic tone? (Pronunciation possibly being close to “Noice”!)
5. Do you flash the peace sign and kiss the air when posing for a camera?
6. Do you park on—instead of between—the white lines in a parking lot (esp with a pick up truck)?
7. Do you wink when you’re kidding?
8. Do you take selfies?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may be a deuce.
When I was a preteen it was important to not be a nerd. When I was a high school graduate it was important to not be lame. Today the ultimate uncool thing to avoid is being a deuce. And as bad as that word may sound, this is good news for our society. Instead of it being socially unacceptable to be smart, imaginative and unique; instead of it being socially unacceptable to be awkward, out-of-place and weak; it’s socially unacceptable to be a self-serving, inconsiderate clown with an overinflated sense of self worth. It’s going past the level of jerk and it’s not because of being into science fiction, wearing braces, doing well in calculus or being awkwardly shy. It’s because of bad behaviour towards your fellow human being. Hey, I know a bad word when I hear one, but I can also appreciate a sentiment shared across social lines in our culture.
Congratulations The Green Mile. This is your week.
Steve Buschemi. Not a deuce.
And the Oscar goes to…
Best Actress: Bonnie Hunt as Jan Edgecomb in The Green Mile. She is always a very believable actress. She is also great in Jerry Maguire, Return to Me, Cheaper by the Dozen, etc. She also provides a lot of voice talent for movies like Monsters Inc and Cars.
Best Actor: No question here. One of my favourite actors of all time: Steve Buscemi. And I think his acting in Reservoir Dogs could be his best performance to date. It’s a pretty cool coincidence that he’s also in Monster’s Inc with Bonnie Hunt…
Best Quote: “I’ve just spent 120 quid on me hair. If you think I’m puttin’ a stockin over me head you’re very much mistaken.” – Gary in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrells.
You may have guessed already, but this write up was inspired by the character Percy Wetmore played by Doug Hutchison in The Green Mile. If you are wondering what exactly a deuce is and this blog post didn’t help you, watch this movie and it will all become crystal clear.
Old Irish proverb: Never bolt your door with a boiled carrot, and never ever be a deuce.