Several years ago, the late, great Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Lewis Grizzard wrote a piece attempting to debunk the “Bubba” stereotype.
“Most people think men named Bubba are nothing more than ignorant swine who wear caps with the names of heavy-equipment dealers on the front, shoot anything that moves, listen to music about doing bodily harm to hippies and put beer on their grits,” Grizzard wrote.
“There are many Bubbas that fit that description, but there are plenty who don’t.”
Grizzard, who was obviously raised by his mama to fight for those being persecuted, died back in 1994, so I feel it is my duty to pick up the mantle for another group being picked on by society.
I’m talking about Karens, and, before you ask, none of the Karens mentioned in this column demanded to speak to the manager. I reached out to them.
In case you’ve missed it, a “Karen” is generally defined as someone who throws an old-fashioned double hissy-fit when something doesn’t go her way. They are basically spoiled brats who refuse to grow up. Life isn’t fair, but it’s more unfair to them, and if your opinion or beliefs don’t line up with their thoughts, Karens believe they are ordained by God himself to put you in your place.
We all know someone like that. I can think of several myself, but none of them are named Karen.
In fact, the Karens in my life are just the opposite.
The first Karen I remember was my best friend’s mom back in Tennessee. Mrs. Jones treated me like her own son.
Later, I had a Karen for my U.S. government teacher. Mrs. Guinn scolded me once for spending too much time trying to be the class clown instead of paying attention in class, but I didn’t hold it against her. She wasn’t mean about it, and deep down I knew she was right and she had my best interests at heart.
Pretty sure every student she taught during a 48-year career felt the same way about her.
Karen West is a longtime East Texas teacher, including the past several years as journalism instructor at White Oak High School. I knew her before that, back when she was still a college student working at the Wee Learn Center in Longview.
She helped teach my son how to walk.
She always wanted to have a famous name. Now, she’s not so sure about it.
“I don’t know a lot of Karens. I never went to school with a Karen,” she said. “When I was in high school, I had a bunch of friends trying to be songwriters, and I remember thinking how cool it would be if my name was in a song. I never saw my name anywhere, but this wasn’t what I had in mind.”
Is that a complaint?
“Heck no,” she said with a laugh. “If I complain, folks just say ‘Calm down, Karen.’ ”
Karen Tutt has actually been accused of being a “Karen,” but she didn’t realize it was an insult until she looked it up.
“About a year ago I commented on someone’s Facebook post and one of the comments back at me was ‘Well, what would you expect? Her name is Karen.’ I had to Google it,” said Tutt, who is a mentor at the Children’s Learning Institute, a longtime adjunct faculty member at Kilgore College and LeTourneau University and a Child Development Associate specialist who evaluates applicants seeking their CDA.
It’s time to quit with the Karen negativity. The actual Karens I know are all sweethearts, and I won’t stand by any longer and let them be picked on and labeled in a bad way.
Don’t make me call the manager. Bubba is a busy man, and he won’t be amused.