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    Summer break is the perfect opportunity to get back into reading. Adam Silvera’s (2017) novel, They Both Die at the End, can serve as a stepping stone into the realm of reading. The pace is fast, action-packed, and develops loveable characters. Also, Silvera switches point of view each chapter where narration mainly focuses on the protagonists, […]
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The Butt of every joke

I hate going to the gas stations that have attendant who yell at you over a loud speaker. Not only is it embarrassing when your card doesn’t swipe or you are having some trouble at the pump but now you have some annoying voice yelling at you to just come inside and pay. If that were my job I would just yell random things at people pumping their gas like “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

Prepaid pumps are my favorite because it cuts out the walk of shame when you pumped just one penny over the dollar. It’s almost as if the tenant is laughing at you and judging your operating skills. “Amateurs” they sneer. I particularly love prepay because the tenant avoids seeing my unpleasant look of horror when I realize that I only have two dollars and a Canadian penny for gas that week.

The reason I am rambling on about gas pumping is because I had an epiphany while filling up the other day. Gas was $2.77 a gallon and for some reason I was celebrating the two-cent drop. I was feeling saucy and decided to avoid the annoying Wizard of Oz voice and selected the “pay inside” option. I figured ‘what the hell,’ I will splurge and put nine bucks in today. Proud as a peacock, I strolled into the gas station where Sarah the cashier greeted me. Sarah the cashier has a noticeably hard time pronouncing words with the letter “s”. “Theven Theventy Thix ith your change” she said to the lady in front of me who just smiled politely. By the time it was my turn Sarah was looking kind of tense. My change was only a dollar and I felt grateful that I didn’t have to witness her struggle with another six or seven cents. Well and mostly because I probably would have laughed and made the situation a whole lot worse.

As I pulled away from the gas station, I thought about Sarah and how unlucky she was to be named Sarah. I can just see Sarah’s parents thumbing through the book of baby names while God watched over them laughing hysterically. Almost as if he put the name “Sarah” in flashing neon lights with a sign above it that said “Pick Me! Pick Me!”

I’ll admit that it is a little harsh to be making a joke out of poor Sarah’s speech impediment but think about the sick person who named her particular speech problem a “lisp.” Out of the 26 letters in the alphabet, he/she had to throw an “s” in there. I challenge you to read this entire column as if you had a lisp and think about how Sarah feels. Then think about the word “lisp” and how it is the only word that describes her speech obstruction and how she can’t even say that! Now that’s cruelty.

Thankfully, Sarah is not alone. Think about those who have trouble saying the letter “r” for instance, is it just me or are those people always named Ryan? It seems like every person I know with a speech impediment has trouble saying a letter that begins his or her own name. I just don’t think that is a coincidence.

Some of you are laughing as you think about a Sarah or Ryan in your life and the funny way they said their names while others of you are those people everyone laughed at. Before you plan to write hateful letters to the editor about me I invite you to take a glance at the name of the author behind this dreadful column. It should all make sense now.

Growing up with a last name like Butts has given me free reign when it comes to teasing others about their names. I have been called “Seymour,” “Lick My,” “Scratch My,” “Spank My” and so on for years. At almost twenty years of age I still hear laughter when I introduce myself to a group of people for the first time. My favorite is when people reply by saying something like “Ouch” or “I’m so sorry.” Nice. The most annoying thing is when people try and relate. They will say something like “That’s okay my last name is Leymone and everyone used to call me a lemon.” I just look at them and shake my head because that is not the same thing. I would much rather be named after a pretty fruit than the plural of something I already have way too much of. Just to be clear I was referring to a lemon when I said a pretty fruit: not America’s Next Top Model’s Miss J.

Thankfully, I have turned years of going by “Lauren B” and countless attempts to avoid roll call into a positive. The positive being that I hold the trump card when it comes to cracking jokes about other peoples unfortunate names. If ever I cross the line with a joke, which I have been known to do, I can just whip out my I.D. and throw down on the table and all will be resolved.

Ultimately, laughing at your flaws is the best way to beat your insecurities. Never be ashamed of your faults. Be proud of the person you are even if you have to take a few low blows from time to time. Laugh and be laughed at. Just please don’t call my house looking for Seymour or I’ll put my father, Harry, on the phone and he will not be happy

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