I recently had occasion to contemplate one of the world’s great childhood mysteries. A question that has seemingly plagued children in schoolyards and on playgrounds everywhere for generations.

The other night, while enjoying a game of baseball and a cold beer in the friendly outdoor confines of my balcony, it happened. Carin, carrying on a nice telephone conversation with a friend while sitting next to me, called some unfortunate soul a “ditwad”.

Unable to resist, I piped up and asked the question that’s been on my mind and surely that of others for as long as we can remember. Is the correct term ditwad, dipwad or dickwad? I have heard friends called and have been accused myself of being all three at various times, yet there appears to be no consensus on which one is correct, or whether all are permissible and dictated by circumstance. If the former, how has such an important detail gone undocumented for so long? And if the latter is the case, how have such rules gone unenforced, and where might official usage documentation be obtained? As insults are somewhat of an art form, it is imperative that proper etiquette be adhered to so that false rumours and accusations will not fly around among otherwise gentlemanly and ladylike young people.

My question was met with much laughter and even a what in god’s name are you talking about from Carin, and probably a this guy’s an idiot from the end of the phone I was unable to hear. But I do feel, as should you, that this issue is important and in dire need of addressing, so I regret nothing.

I get to meet this friend of Carin’s tomorrow, as I have been invited to join the two of them for dinner and drinks. Perhaps I shall raise the issue again now that all parties have had more time to lend it the consideration it deserves. I may find myself eating and drinking alone should this happen, but any consequence I may pay for bringing this dispute a step closer to resolution is a consequence I’m willing to endure.

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