I can guess what word she meant, but I have my own dirtiest word: Should.
I should be a better mother.
I should be a better wife.
I should be a better Christian.
I should get this laundry put away.
I should get out there and walk, because
1) I should lose weight
2) I should get my cholesterol down, and
3) I should get in shape because if I get my cholesterol down I could live to be 100 and I don’t want to spend those last 20 years in a nursing home.
Speaking of which, I should put more money away for retirement and quit acting like the future will never get here.
I should plan ahead and get dinner in the crock pot by 1:00.
I should make better eye contact.
I should quit worrying.
I should quit shopping so much.
I should quit over-thinking.
I should quit eating sugar.
OH I should give the dogs their heartworm pill! I’ll be right back . . .
So I’m trying to avoid using that “S” word on myself and others. Like other dirty words, it sets a tone and has an impact I don’t want to live with. (I should use better grammar. I think “with” is a preposition. Somebody help me out here.) What makes it a dirty word is that I could add “I’m such a loser” after each of those shoulds. Should reeks of false guilt. And when I use it on someone else it’s like I’m so overflowing with shouldness that I can’t get my whole list done and I want you to do some of it. Even a good should, “Oh, that picture’s so cute you should frame it!” carries an implied burden.
Even worse--should doesn’t get anything done. It’s just a weapon of half-hearted destruction. Picture it: You’re sitting on the couch, enjoying some Cheetos and Pepsi at 10 a.m., and you think, “I should get off this couch, swap these Cheetos for carrot sticks, and put in a load of
laundry.” Do you move? Nope. Maybe you’ll get up during the next commercial, but hello, you’re not going to just walk out before the reveal after investing 45 minutes in Kitchen Crashers! So quit shoulding yourself and either get up and get to work, or stay and enjoy your Cheetos and the kitchen you’ll never have, because really, who gives a should how you spend your morning?
To steal shamelessly from Yoda, do or do not. There is no should. Have a great day. And watch your language.