My friends and I were having lunch in the break room the other day. For the sake of protecting their identity, let's call my friends Frick and Frack.
Discussing the incorrect behavior of others is a fun group activity which we all enjoy and today was no exception. Frack was complaining about someone, I forget who it was, but she was going into some detail about this person's transgressions against her. Then, Frack said, "He was being anal, you know what I mean?"
Well, I thought I did. It's the 2nd in Freud's stages of development. Having majored in Psychology, at least I know that much. People who have an "Anal" personality are usually compulsive and overly controlling, they like things just so.
Also, being a long-time fan of Saturday Night Live, I remember Phil Hartman's Anal Retentive Chef, obsessively wrapping and sealing every piece of trash.
I also remember the many times I watched the movie Annie Hall, in which Diane Keaton says to Woody Allen, "Anal is a nice word for what you are." So yeah, I knew what being "anal" meant. Or so I thought.
Frack kept on asking if I knew what she meant. I kept on replying in the affirmative as did Frick. But Frack was suspicious that we were clueless.
She kept saying, "you know what "anal" means, don't you?"
I said, "it means someone who's a control freak and very fastidious."
"No," Frack replied, "it means they're being an asshole."
Frick and I were quick to correct her. "That's not what it means," I said.
Frick chimed in, "It's like Anal Retentative, someone who's a neat freak - haven't you ever heard of Anal Retentative?"
That's right, folks, there's an extra syllable in there. Re-ten-TA-tive.
By now I was pretty annoyed with both of them. "It's not pronounced Re-ten-TA-tive, it's just retentive and it does not mean being an asshole, it's one of Freud's stages of development."
Frack would not be corrected, "No, it means you're an asshole, don't you know that?"
I said, "Don't talk to me about Anal, I majored in Psychology, I have a bachelors degree in Anal!"
That did not come out right. There was a moment of silence.... followed by a fit of giggles. Yep, we may be a bunch of middle-aged women but we have the sense of humor of 12-year-old boys.