From Merriam-Webster, the definition of sarcasm:

Definition of sarcasm

  1. a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain

  2. a) a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual
    b) the use or language of sarcasm

When I was younger I employed sarcasm so regularly it was entitled to full benefits and vacation pay. Thinking it over, I haven’t really reduced my usage of sarcasm, I just have fewer opportunities to wield it. For example, I’m wise enough to know that sarcasm is often not the best tactic in the workplace (co-workers do not seem to share this trepidation based on the regular barbs that go a-flying).

Looking at that first definition, though? Designed to cut or give pain? Ouch. Literally. When I employ sarcasm, it’s certainly meant for effect, chiefly to skewer the target of said sarcasm. In that sense, it can be said to be intended to cut. Give pain? Not so much. I’m not a sadist, not even a linguistic one. When I use words as weapons I’m more like a mug swinging a club I can only manage to lift, rather than a skilled fencer darting to and fro, stabbing at will.

The second definition, though, that’s entirely me. When I prick a finger and draw blood I’m fairly certain a little sarcasm leaks out. I don’t always target individuals, though, preferring to broaden my targets to entire institutions or groups.

What brought on this bit of self-reflection was a perusal of some of the posts on this blog, specifically my writing prompts (the ones I create, not the ones I tackle) and how they are uniformly sarcastic. Why is that? Am I secretly afraid of producing mediocre prompts and so write ones that aren’t intended to be taken seriously? Is it a reaction to so many writing prompt collections being silly while trying to be serious? More the latter, I think.

Coming up with a few decent prompts is pretty easy. Coming up with a dozen? Trickier. Coming up with hundreds, especially hundreds that aren’t spewed out by an automated process? It is difficult, so bless those brave souls that try, even as I mock their efforts. I don’t mean to be cruel and fully open myself to similar mockery with the hundreds of nonsensical posts I’ve written here.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this. I blame my head cold and the obligation to write. I’d rather be sleeping and don’t look forward to staggering into work tomorrow, still feeling unwell and having to battle stuffed-up sinuses, caustic co-workers, and other stuff, all of which could be solved through the simple expediency of winning the lottery.

Time for bed and NyQuil-fueled dreams. The best dreams.

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