Although I am often surprised by Webster’s true definition of a word, this particular rendition really took my breath away.
It’s because when I was a child, I had an aunt who screamed at the children running in a room, telling us to settle down and stop acting like a “bunch of wild banshees.”
I did not know what a banshee was, nor did I care to ask her to explain. I just assumed that banshees were children who were having fun, which for some reason or another, drove this old lady crazy.
- I knew “banshee” was not good.
- I knew it was an insult.
- Just like I privately knew, in my young spirit, that when my aunt used the words hillbilly, worthless slut, wetback and nigger, that she probably wasn’t being complimentary.
So in a sense, banshee became associated to me with the word nigger. In other words, I knew it was bad and I knew I didn’t want to be one, since it made my aunt so pissed off.
Oh, yes, did I fail to mention? She thought that the black people in America–the niggers–were just as uncontrolled as we banshees.
So I grew up a confused young man who was offered a lexicon of terms, which if I accidentally used in public, my parents–and aunt–would quickly silence me, expressing their displeasure over my timing.
I was a child of Middle America, instructed in “public talk” and “private talk” … cautioned to never mix the two.
Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) — J.R. Practix
Mr. Kringle’s Tales … 26 Stories ‘Til Christmas
“The best Christmas stories I’ve ever read!”
From the toy shop to the manger, an advent calendar of Christmas stories, beginning on November 30th and ending on Christmas morning.
We need a good Christmas this year.
Mr. Kringle’s Tales will help you make it so.