I’ve been working two posts this past week. (Actually, now three, if you include this.) One is completely ready to publish; the other would be ready to publish if I could only stop second-guessing myself. The problem is, they’re both snarky.
“I’m so good at snarky!” I wailed to my walking partner this morning.
“Yes, you are,” she agreed. She has laughed at many of my snarky posts and is one of my most faithful blog followers. She knows.
I was discussing the posts I’d written but not published, my concerns about writing about other people (or gyms, as it were) behind their backs in full view of the public, which could potentially include them.
“I mean, they’re not mean mean; they’re just snarky,” I reiterated of my posts.
“If you’re hesitant about publishing, then you’re better off not publishing,” Connie said.
“I know…,” I resorted to wailing again, calmly. “Snarky just isn’t edifying — and it doesn’t actually demonstrate good character. Even if I have good character.”
Just to be clear, let me define snarky:
Snarky is just a step up (or down) from sarcastic in the scheme of edification and good character. I want my writings to edify. I want them to demonstrate my character — and I want my character to be good.
I have been notably sarcastic much of my life, usually when it’s appropriately funny and not hurtful. In college, we “celebrated” Quad C Week, similar to Lent in that everyone had to give up something they loved, different from Lent in that your friends chose what you gave up and you could — accidentally or on purpose — do what you gave up and pay the penance, a quarter for every occurrence. My friends chose sarcasm — and it was honestly the first time anyone had told me I was sarcastic. (My parents just told me I had a “smart mouth.” I thought they were complimenting me. Often.) During Quad C Week, I gave a lot of money to charity, because I often practiced what I didn’t know I did. I was sarcastic. It wasn’t until much later that I learned I sometimes resort to sarcasm when I’m just too timid to confront a person or a situation and speak the truth in love.
And that’s the part of being snarky that makes me hush (or not click on “publish”). In that reflective hush, I can explore my motivation in writing a snarky post. Sometimes I can tame a post into something that edifies. Sometimes I can’t. And sometimes I have to stew with it for awhile.
I thought “snarky and hush” was a good title for my post — in part because it perfectly describes my two tendencies (be snarky and then have second thoughts and hush rather than publish). But I also titled it because it sounds like the title of the 1970s TV show “Starsky and Hutch.” (And any of my former English students are well aware how much “sounds like” means to me.)
Since I was too young to remember more than the name of the show, I looked it up and was delighted to find that Starsky was rather snarky, while Hutch was more hushed. TV.com describes them like this:
On the surface, plain-clothes Detectives Starsky and Hutch were like oil and water. Ken Hutchinson opted very much for the quiet life, being well read, a deep thinker, and enjoying fine cuisine. Dave Starsky, on the other hand, was louder, more brash, enjoying street life and a diet of junk food.
Their personalities might have contrasted, but once together, they meshed perfectly, practically operating and thinking as one, as they rid the streets of muggers, drug pushers, murderers, rapists, racketeers, and similar scum.
“Starsky and Hutch” sounds like “snarky and hush.” Starsky and Hutch the characters were like snarky and hush, respectively.
It was probably a lot easier since they weren’t sharing the same body.
P.S. The image is the car used by Starsky and Hutch in their multi-year series. I thought it symbolic that it, like me, is being kept captive — or being kept protected — by a simple restraint easily overcome but not. It’s better that way.