Throwing Eggs across the Great Divide

For years the word dysfunctional has been thrown about haphazardly like egg spatters on your car. The term was most often used to describe families of divorce. I even heard one mother object to her son’s girlfriend by saying she came from a dysfunctional family, as the girl’s parents were divorced. But so was the boy’s mother, so where did she get off throwing eggs?

Now if a family is dysfunctional the people who make up the family must also be dysfunctional: the mom, dad, sons, daughters. Grandparents? Could I be a dysfunctional grandparent and not know it? This is scary. I will have a talk with my children, and they will say “But Mom, of course we’re dysfunctional – after all, you and Dad were divorced!” Oh my! Now I don’t know what to do. I thought in spite of my divorce I was rearing the Brady Bunch, all happiness and light – ha, ha, ha. Have I brought the Dysfunctional Disorder into my family line? Many dysfunctional people go to a psychiatrist to help them get functional again, so I must see a psychiatrist as soon as possible – in case there’s anything I can do to mend this terrible rent in the fabric of my family.

But wait a minute! According to what I recently read in one of the opinion pieces, as they call them, our whole society has become dysfunctional now, and people are saying even George Bush, our president, is dysfunctional! Well, of course the latter makes sense; if our society is dysfunctional then of course we would elect a dysfunctional president. That’s a no-brainer. Except we’ve been talking about divorce and George is not divorced, at least not from his wife.

If only we could replace dysfunctional with a better word! When a word is overused it loses its color. It becomes meaningless. Perhaps we could simply say our society is troubled or that we have a troubled president, and let it go at that. Unfortunately, however, the word trouble brings to mind the witches chant from Macbeth: “Double, double toil and trouble, Fire burn and cauldron bubble.”

I know! I know! Just because today is Halloween is no excuse for this. I withdraw all comments about egg throwing and witches spells. But I can’t help but wonder why the word witches reminds me of long black robes—which remind me of—supremely remind me of—Oh no! Of course not! There’s no connection! Eek!

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