What what in the butt? Hurt in the butt! That’s what!

For a summary of practically every counterpoint that Stoner Aunt has ever made to substantive criticism from me or one of her other relatives by marriage, see the title. We’re lucky to enjoy exceptions to the rule on even a quarterly basis. The syntax fits the bill, too, although I prefer not to dwell on it because Stoner’s newfangled nouns and convoluted, passive-aggressive, moralistic ways of presenting what should be straightforward statements are some of the least entertaining things imaginable that are also downright bizarre. It’s much more worthwhile to watch the Temple Clinger mangle the language on Facebook.

And to think that what scandalized Grandma about Stoner Aunt was that she was a divorcee. Look, divorcees are cool. So are laicized Jesuits, probably for some of the same reasons. If you don’t believe the latter point, behold John “Bye-Bye” McLaughlin, and then shut your mouth, if it hasn’t gone silently agape in awe of its own accord (and it will the moment you hear him enunciate “Pethokoukis”). I dig divorcees. Lady Kentfield is one; she’s a hot mess, but she’s honorable about it. This super-hot older MILF in Eureka with whom I routinely flirt at the first opportunity is a divorcee. So is a somewhat prettier lady in her clique whom I find less captivating mainly because she’s mentally stable and shit. Referring to Stoner Aunt as a divorcee is like referring to Charles Cullen and Orville Lynn Majors as male nurses. I don’t care how factually accurate it is to say such a thing; it’s still a slur. It still tars the vast majority of the cohort in question who aren’t like that.

Do I descend into the Godwinian quagmire of moral relativism? Look at this way, the way Mohammad Ali might: no Hoosier in a mullet ever killed me with an opiate overdose. And come to think of it, court officers have been known to stuff a rag in Nurse Cullen’s mouth when he won’t shut up. (For realz. They don’t fuck around in the DelVal.) It’s a custom that we might find salutary and conducive to the peace in our own parts farther west.

Before accusing me of florid delirium on account of sleep deprivation, keep in mind that Stoner Aunt isn’t one to esteem free speech for the rest of us. What’s sauce for the gander, I say, is sauce for the easily ruffled goose. Okay, woman, you don’t want me telling you to shut up because you’re being a self-righteous ass? Fine. How about you stop attempting to chill my own criticism with your protestations of grievous butthurt?

Stoner Aunt is probably ignorant of the concept of butthurt, just as she is of science. She doesn’t spend enough time online. Butthurt has to be the most righteous and eloquent vulgarity ever to have emanated from the electronic hivemind. Really, though, she wouldn’t want to examine herself (or her conscience, as the popish among us might put it) any more than she would want to examine how refined complex carbohydrates are actually digested and how that differs from the digestion of sucrose. She wouldn’t want to see the workings of her grievance-mongering psyche as it unleashes its self-importance on those around her and then prickles at the first criticism, the mildest rebuke from her fellows. She wouldn’t want to understand the true pathos of her hypocritically elevated regard for her own tender fee-fees and her queen-of-the-mountain act. Understanding the true grotesquerie of the royal prerogative is a total bummer, man. Why manifest negative shit like that when you could manifest taking it easy? What, you want me to take it easy on them? Farkle you, asshole!

That’s the beauty of it. We hurt her in the same orifice from which she routinely addresses us. Shit, it isn’t even that we’re trying to hurt her; it just happens whenever we approach her like an adult and get all Debbie Downer on her because she was throwing her weight around like some grandiose but downwardly mobile member of the Victorian aristocracy. A butt hurt by any other name is still an ass assaulted. How dare anyone give her the hairy eyeball for eating straight out of the serving dish with her bare hands (but daintily, with thumb and index finger!), then insulting her inferiors, then spouting some quack rubbish, then reaching for her clutching pearls, and two seconds later saying obscene things about prominent politicians while leaving detritus and grease on the dishes that she’s pretending to wash! Who do those fuckers think they are? Equals? Lese majeste! (She probably doesn’t understand that concept, either, or its sad pertinence to her worldview.)

Hey, it’s a lot harder to articulate a substantive response to meritorious criticism than to whine, “Oww, poopy hole!” In a way that I have observed but cannot understand, people like Stoner Aunt somehow find it less pathetic to dial the waambulance on whine-one-one than to unabashedly admit that they expect to receive more deference than they give. This confuses me because both approaches are devoid of decorum and self-respect. I guess one needs less of those things when one visualizes one’s own self-image into existence from a pile of steaming bullshit. The other thing that probably motivates Stoner Aunt to proclaim her butthurt rather than make coherent counterarguments is that butthurt is entirely subjective, if you’re groveling or worn down enough to submit to the distorted perceptions of your self-aggrandizing relatives. (My parents are.) If Stoner believes in anything (faith being shown in works, which would totally blow minds in Ashland, dude), she believes in expediency. So does Farmer. It’s a lot more expedient to make vague claims of butthurt that cannot be conclusively disproven than to make specific claims that are patently ridiculous.

I really can’t say how conscious Stoner Aunt is of any of this evasiveness. It’s a fool’s errand to try to pinpoint where she is at any given moment on the spectrum between home planet living and L. Ron Hubbard astronautics. If it sounds schizophrenic, all I can say is that thinking about it in any depth makes it look schizophrenic. Where Farmer Uncle likes to play redneck alcoholic, Stoner Aunt likes to play space-warping nutcase. She isn’t the disinhibited one, either, so we got trouble.

Fire on the mountain.