Thursday, February 11, 2010

Like many, I am a visual person

You probably are too. Most people are. There are visual, audial, and tactile learners. We use a combination of these three to perceive and communicate.

Being a visual learner/perceiver, I picture what people tell me, I picture what I hear. You may hear people say things like "I see what you're saying", or you may see them looking up or closing their eyes when you're talking to them. They're imagining what you're saying to them. Picturing it.

This brings me to the point of my topic here. The misuse of the phrase "anal-retentive". I hear this phrase in the most inappropriate places. Restaurants, work, parties. I doubt people really know what the phrase means when they say it.


the anal phase. This is when children are beginning to potty train, and become aware of this part of their anatomy. There's a lot of focus on it because of toilet training, and a child (who doesn't cooperate) can react one of two ways: anal retentive, or anal expulsive. The anal retentive child refuses to use the toilet at all, because he cannot go where he pleases. As an adult the anal retentive person is fussy, meticulous, overly organized, and sometimes anti-social. The anal expulsive child reacts violently, by soiling his pants or other areas, in protest against using the toilet. He proves he will put his feces anywhere he likes. The anal expulsive adult is brash, unorganized, and often unconcerned with others' feelings.


When people use the phrase "anal retentive", I doubt they are referring to its actual meaning. And lucky me, I picture it. A spoiled brat who won't poop.

Even worse, perhaps a million-fold, is the abbreviated form of this phrase, "anal". It means "of, pertaining to, involving, or near the anus". Please do not use this phrase unless you are talking about your actual pooper. And this topic, should never be brought up in the workplace, in a restaurant, anywhere talking about your ass would be inappropriate. It means assy. Okay I just made that word up, but really, since the misuse of the word "anal", we need a new one. And again, please remember your visual friends when using the word "anal", "anal retentive" or "assy" or I will kick your anus.

This has been a public service announcement.

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