It’s Official: A-hole Is Not a Curse Word

Neighbors are like family members.

You can’t choose them. You’re free to dislike them. And many of them will probably dislike you — but quietly.

Yet one couple in Virginia Beach decided to expose their feelings about their neighbors to a degree that is positively uplifting, as well as instructive to mankind.

I wouldn’t even want to imagine all the slights and arrows of outrageous behavior that befell Jeanine and Rich Wenger before they decided to take Neighborhood Watch into their own hands.

Clearly, they and their fellow citizens of close proximity disagreed on some fundamentals of human decency. Or, perhaps, of human passive aggression.

As presents it, their neighbors are called Joanne and Thomas and there is no doubting that the friction between these two couples could have kept the Super Bowl fully lit throughout last Sunday.

Indeed, there appears to be a 237-page opus which resides at Virginia Beach Police Department that chronicles the depths to which Joanne and Thomas’s relationship with their neighbors sank.

There have been attempts at mediation, which have gone about as well as the ones in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Or the Kim Kardashian-Kris Humphries conflict.


There were accusations from Thomas (somehow, this couple’s last name has been withheld — perhaps for further questioning) that a neighbor had been “placing and repositioning a troll/statue grotesque in nature.”

Where might the neighbor have been doing this? Why, on Thomas’s property line.

Clearly this unpleasantness didn’t lurch merely in one direction. Others complained about Joanne and Thomas.

Finally, the Wengers decided to erect an escalation to their self-expression. They were allegedly unhappy with where Joanne and Thomas parked their truck.

So they put up a sign that read: “Parking reserved for the neighborhood A–hole only.”

You will be stunned into painting a plaintive sign on your forehead when I tell you that the neighborhood A-hole seemed to be Thomas. Or, perhaps, Joanne.

You will not be able to shake your feeling of otherworldly numbness when I tell you that these two then complained to the local busybody. Um, I mean the local officials who deal with insanely incompatible neighbors.

An edict was issued. It declared that “A-Hole” was no more obscene than “A-Rod.”

It read: “The word ‘obscene’ where it appears in this article shall mean that which, considered as a whole, has as its dominant theme or purpose an appeal to the prurient interest in sex, that is, a shameful or morbid interest in nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, excretory functions or products thereof or sadomasochistic abuse, and which goes substantially beyond customary limits of candor in description or representation of such matters and which, taken as a whole, does not have serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.”

It is possible that you were unaware that calling someone an “A-hole” was only offensive if you were making some sort of sexual reference to their perverse proclivity for, well, excretion or bottoms-up sexual activity.

If you are merely calling someone an “A-hole” because they are behaving in the manner in which a common A-hole would, then you are merely (at least, presumably) expressing an opinion as to how their conduct offends you in one way or another.

Or, as Rick Wenger so elegantly stated it: “That’s a matter of first amendment rights.”

He added, with Socratean sagacity: “Some people that don’t know any better would think it’s really something crude. On the other hand, who do you know that does not have an anal orifice? Everybody that has one, it’s okay for them to park here.”

If only he lived in France, he would have his own late-night TV show, one on which the nation’s most famed intellectuals would appear.

The local authorities did make the Wengers move their sign onto their own land. However, it still stands, glorifying the neighborhood and surely exciting potential home buyers.

I have a suspicion that behavior on both sides of this dispute might not have been exemplary.

But I am moved to paroxysms of joy that the Virginia Beach authorities have decided not to bow to some prissily refined concept of political correctness.

Instead, they have taken a word at its literal meaning — perhaps as those who wrote the Constitution would have taken it.

One senses that this dispute may have no bottom. There all still great depths to be plumbed.

But so many members of the free world will surely breathe a sigh of monumental relief that they can still roll into work and say “Hey, A-hole,” without Human Resources being immediately informed.


Image: WTKR Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk




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