There’s this shop on Rt 25 out in Smithtown called “U R Busted,” which cracks me up every time I see it. I think it’s a lawyer specializing in defending drug possession cases, but it may also be a bail bondsman. It’s not too clear. The sign, however, causes me great mirth whenever I pass by it. It also makes me think of the time that my best friend, Erick, ragged on me for using the word busted, to describe something that was broken. We were working in Sears, which puts this is a tight 4-month frame in the winter of 1992. We were in the hardware section, meaning that half the time, we dealt with people returning old and broken tools under the Craftsman lifetime guarantee. I think Sears has since limited this program. So someone came in with something that didn’t work, and I asked Erick where the replacement part would be, saying that the object in question was “busted.” Well this caused Erick great mirth. He kept repeating “busted,” and told other people that I said something was “busted.” When I said that it was a perfectly reasonable use of the word, he dismissed me. We eventually had to go to a dictionary–a paper one. We didn’t use computers or the internet to search for meaning back then. Entry number 2 of the word bust in my Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary has it as a synonym for break or burst. It was coined in the 1860s, which is even older than I am. But it never left me how hard he ribbed me for using busted to mean something broken. I still use the word, and I enjoy “Busting Up a Starbucks,” by Mike Doughty, a bit more than I suspect most people do.
I drive like a maniac. Well, I don’t think I do, but I’ve been told that I do by passengers and the pedestrians that narrowly escape my car’s fender. I think I drive passive-aggressively. I speed, but only to get out of the way of other drivers, because hell is other drivers. In attempting to get away from other drivers as fast as I can, I curse at anyone incompetent enough to get in my way. Usually this is the moron who decides to ever so slowly slide into the left lane on a three lane parkway. Idiot! But, in the heat of the moment, I usually yell something different, questioning their sexuality, which, of course, has nothing to do with driving ability. In my normal day-to-day sedentary existence, I couldn’t care less about the ways in which we swing. Anyone can stick anything into anyone as long as all parties involved are happy with it. So I’m making an effort to change the invective that I fling uselessly at the driver in front of me. Steve, a coworker who sits beside me at work, often calls people “crackhead.” I like this one, because, really, crackheads aren’t a demographic that should be worrying about what people are calling them. Words flung at them are the least of their problems. I have made it my mission to bring “crackhead” into my vernacular. So if you ever hear, “F-ing crackhead!” whilst driving in the left-hand lane, give a friendly wave with your middle finger. The person you’re flipping off just might be me not questioning your sexuality.