"Decided to take out the 'bullshit' entry," said
David kept a straight face. "I'm not surprised."
Alan followed the conversation wide-eyed.
"Like I often say, David: Differences are more important
"Quite so," David mused. He turned to Alan.
"Don't you agree?"
"Sure, but -- "
"For example," I interrupted. "'Bullshit' can be
a verb sometimes. 'Horseshit' is always a noun, and there is no such
thing as a horseshitter."
David squeezed the smirk off his face. "Never thought
of that before."
Alan takes a ribbing with a puzzled frown.
"Not only that," I continued, "but there's no such thing
as a 'horseshit artist.'"
"You might consider telling me what you guys are talking
about," Alan complained.
"Weren't you planning to do some kind of a study?" asked
David, ignoring Alan.
"Funny you should mention that," I replied. "You
know, all around us there are statistics: public opinion polls, demographic
surveys, market research -- "
David nodded. "We have them, too. Care to
guess what factor is used by the most people in choosing a church?"
I thought for a moment. "The preacher -- no, the
Alan signaled a time-out. "What do statistics have
to do with -- "
"It's parking, Paul," said David. "The quality of sermons
ranks below the child-care facilities."
"Parking," I chuckled. "Must be discouraging for
you men of the cloth. Anyway, you're making my point. See,
not everybody chose parking, did they. Well, in my own statistical
study, I have observed 100% agreement."
"No 'undecideds,' even?" asked David, raising his eyebrows.
Alan reached his point of exasperation. "What study!"
"So far, every person I have asked gives the same answer:
'horseshit' is definitely the stronger, more offensive term. It means
a lie; 'bullshit' is merely a form of foolishness. At most, 'bullshit'
David fought with his face. "Any theory?"
Alan brightened and plunged into the conversation.
"Cows are ruminants."
David and I looked quizzical. It was our turn to
"Ruminants," said Alan with a shrug, "can digest cellulose.
So their excrement is less offensive -- "
"That's disgusting, Alan!" I exclaimed in mock shock.
"David and I are having an intellectual discussion about horseshit, here.
It's filthy to talk about bovine excrement."
"Equine excrement, you mean," Alan corrected.
"Horseshit is equine excrement."