I can’t call him a spaz, as one might have done at the age of seven, in the cacophony of school recess — those tranquil days before the invention of safety, before the invention of concern, when playgrounds looked like post-nuclear wastelands.

First, he isn’t spastic. Ford — I call him Ford Madox Ford to the consternation of everyone but himself and his parents — has Tourette’s Syndrome and in fact specializes more in coprolalia than in embarrassing, unaccountable physical movements (although these are not unknown). Second, to call him a spaz would, amid our brave new world of inclusion and charity, push the boundaries of acceptable taste. Needless to say.

But I had to laugh when I heard his dazzling new portmanteau — delivered in a shower of spittle — consisting of three conjoined politically incorrect monosyllables: “Cuntshitard.”

And I was the only one who did laugh, all other bystanders — a jogger, a dog-walker, and a woman in gardening gloves crouching over her lobelia — turning away, pretending to whistle or admire the prospect. Or, rather, not the only one: Ford, too, started laughing. Then his right hand shot out with an inapposite self-incriminating jerk. Ah, that Tourette’s!

No, wait — the cuntshitard was high-fiving me!

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