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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Struck Strikes Out: Sorting through thick and thin

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I've accidentally discovered a way to diminish those annoying global e-mail bombardments force-feeding recipients discount prices on Viagra and Cialis, Rolex knock-offs, earn cash at home ventures, greening America, and how to miraculously make your lady happy by growing things.

Simply use the adjective "chunky" while praising an un-skinny, 6-2 male high school basketball player who just used his guile and skills to almost single-handedly beat your favorite team.

Whammo.

Every Politically Correct groupie this side of Walden Pond came on the attack with complaining, threatening and sometimes vile e-mails; raging, anger-filled phone calls; and I would hope futile regurgitations of, "if they were my boss, I'd be fired."

Really.

Over the word chunky.

As a degreed and weathered wordsmith (Thank You, the late Reverend Sister Bernadine!), throughout my extensive and modestly well-decorated journalism career, I've used adjectives of every type to describe prep athletes; local, state and national government officials; lowly jail-house punks and criminals; abusers; users; and empty suits who weekly validate themselves by sitting in the front pews.

Knowing full well that "porky" was off the table, in my 35-year career I've referred to prep athletes as "beefy" to denote size and strength and girth. I've described tall post players, tight ends and linemen as "intimidating" and "towering;" and small guards, running backs and second-basemen as "diminuitive."

"I've called oblivious politicians "clueless," authority abusing law enforcement officers "bullies," and those prone to domestic violence "despicable creatures."

And since the end of my prep and collegiate days as a 6-4, 195-pound athlete, who later as an adult inched up to 250 pounds or more, I've been called "barrel-chested," "mountain man," "big & ugly," "fat boy," "beefy," "obese," and, yes, "chunky."

Of all those adjectives, to this day I still prefer chunky as a pretty apt description that, to me, carries no ill intent, but is meant to describe someone who is not skinny and not obese, not real muscular but certainly not weak.

My dictonary defines "chunky" as "stocky." I looked up "stocky" and it was defined as "sturdy." To me they are all synonymous and simply convey the message that a chunky person is physically different from a thin or skinny person. But to a great number of readers, my use of chunky was wrong, crossed the line, and I should apologize immediately and be reprimanded or fired.

Since the e-mail and phone call bombardment by those so offended, my smarty-pants co-workers, friends and family now daily remind me they had chunky soup for lunch, they put chunky peanut-butter on their morning toast, they buy chunky tuna for their casseroles, they prefer chunky salsa for their nacho chips, they order chunky fudge at the candy store, and Brett Favre's e-z fit Wranglers are designed specifically for the chunky among us.

The huge upside to all this is the fact so many rushed in to defend the player I called chunky, their comments ranging from what a great and popular kid he is, to how hard he has worked to excel at basketball despite his body type, and, unlike them, how he merely laughed off my chunky reference because he's a pleasant, easy-going kid who desn't take himself too seriously.

Hey, Spencer, there are a lot of caring people out there who have your back - some you don't even know. And after hearing from them all, add one more to that list.

Wow.

Learning experiences. How valuable they can be.

To all of us.