Thursday | November 23, 2017
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Your Views for October 28

From the trenches

This is not a list of grievances. If it were, I would start with the “stupid fat cow” and other debasing, inaccurate epithets that were hurled at me by aggrieved students.

Or the impassive office staff who, when I check in or out at the end of the day would at best give a curt nod, bestowing me with the bare minimum of acknowledgment for my services.

Then, there was the time I had to choose between cleaning up a calm preschooler who had shat straight through his shorts and had feces all over his legs and shoes, or the little girl who was bawling her guts out because she’d peed in her pants.

I often joked with my husband about the similarities between the words, “substitute” and “prostitute.” This morning, I decided to research both words’ etymologies. “Substitute” comes from the Latin statuere (to set up) and evolved into substitutis, “put in place of.”

Interestingly, statuere also is the root for “prostitute” — the prefix “pro-“ means before. Combined, “pro-” and statuere have developed into the concepts of harlotry that we all are familiar with: to be exposed publicly, as well as a person who does or offers an activity for money, despite personal dislike or dishonor.

After cleaning the boy covered in his own excrement, I went home and took a long, hot shower.

After being called a “stupid fat cow” and, during the half a decade of being generally and consistently devalued by staff and students, I have taken innumerable showers.

I hear prostitutes enjoy a thorough cleanse after exposing themselves publicly as well. Another correlation between “prostitute” and “substitute” — both are, in their own particular ways, public servants.

Adriana Woods



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