Calling an offensive foul

Generally, I’m not a very trendy kind of guy. I had short hair when long hair was fashionable, then grew my hair long when the clean-cut look was trendy. Heck, I didn’t take up surfing until I was in my 20s and I just remembered the Alamo last week; I’m always behind the times. Lately I’ve noticed that the current fad is to be unreasonably offended and expect the world to care … I think I can ride this wave!

Shoot, I’ve been offended by plenty of things for years but figured nobody really cared, mostly because every time I complain, I’ve been told to suck it up because … well … nobody cares. Now that being offended is fashionable and the whole country seems to ready to jump through flaming hoops to ensure no one’s feelings are hurt, I’m got a few grievances to air.

As a funny looking short guy, it hurts my feelings that women always seem more attracted to tall good looking men. No matter how charming, witty or rich (I could be rich as far as they know) I am, the ladies will never know if there’s a crude, unemployed, semi-literate tall guy nearby. I might feel better if the Supreme Court ruled that by rolling their eyes and turning away before I even have a chance to display my rapier-like wit, women are denying me the inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness and therefore should be legally required to let me complete a sentence before rolling their eyes and turning away. It’s only fair.

I’m offended by the very existence of the Department of Homeland Security because I’m an American, and I was raised free. To quote Forrest Gump (and you should always quote Forrest Gump), “I am not a smart man…” but I know what freedom looks like and it’s not lining up to show your papers before taking off your shoes and surrendering any right to privacy or personal dignity because you have a business meeting in Cincinnati. Before we worry about pulling Dukes of Hazzard reruns, maybe we should fix this nonsense.

Other things that offend me include the following:

Guys wearing their pants below their butts exposing the world to a full view of their underwear

Phone calls from computers

The designated hitter

Chicken-hawk politicians and media pundits who’ve never served but constantly call out for war

Cottage cheese

The fact that Bob Saget makes more money than I do … that’s just wrong.

Guys who wear their ball cap backwards then put on shades to keep the sun out of their eyes.

Reality shows on TV … enough already; hire a screenwriter and come up with something original before I get desperate and read a book for entertainment.

Based on recent events. it seems to me that legislatures, corporations and retailers should get busy dealing with these offensive matters that continue to harsh my calm. Despite everything I was taught as a child, it appears that we do have the right to not be offended. Who knew?

Dang it! I forgot that I was a grown-up again … I hate it when that happens. Grown-ups realize that, while it’s always polite to try to avoid offending people, nobody has the right or even a reasonable expectation to go through life without being offended.

I’m a humor columnist, the fact I had to tell you that probably means I’m not a very good one, still I have to accept that some readers will be offended by what makes others laugh. It’s not uncommon to get comments praising and condemning the column; there’s no accounting for taste or sensibilities, but the great part of being free grown-ups; we don’t have to read stuff that we find offensive!

I’m a middle-aged, middle-class straight white guy so pretty much everything I say is bound to be offensive to someone … but I can deal with that. I’ve been around long enough to not take it personally when other people have a different perspective … except about cottage cheese.

Like Forrest said, “I am not a smart man…” but it seems to me that when we pass laws to protect folks from being offended, we’re starting down a slippery slope. Where does it stop? This column could be offensive to anyone expecting to read clever satire and if it gets banned, I’m truly hosed. Wait, can I say hosed? Here we go down that slope!

Rick Seley, an award-winning humor columnist, may be reached at


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