On Writing


Ever make up a word or phrase? While playing around with my magnetic poetry today, I contemplated cutting “jack” off of “jackass” so that I could make a word that I’m pretty sure someone made up about 20 years ago and that’s been in my vocabulary ever since. That word is jack turd (not to be confused with jack shit, which means something completely different).

Back in college, I worked summers at Idlewild Park, a local amusement park for kids. As far as I know, one of my team members, a then-twentysomething young woman named Erin, was the originator of the term jack turd. She used it specifically to describe some of the kids who frequented the area of the park where we worked—the ones who did things like jump up and down on the treehouse bridge, shaking it, piss their pants in the ball pit, or smear shit on the slide on their way down it. Jack turds were the kids who inevitably got megaphone warnings or the ones whose gross behavior caused attractions to be temporarily closed for cleaning. Jack turds seemed to be Erin’s word for juvenile jerks or punks, but given that my area of Pennsylvania also coined another “j” word synonymous with those terms, namely, jag-off, I’d like to officially define jack turd thusly:

jack turd

1a:  the spawn of a jag-off

1b:  a juvenile jerk

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