When I was a little girl, my father told me the story of Booger Joe. His friend’s son wanted a G.I Joe action figure for Christmas. The child was excited about the toy, and he shared his excitement with his older brother. His older brother’s reply was: “Why would you want a Booger Joe doll?” The boy would cry back “No, no, I want a G.I. Joe,” but the teasing began.
From that time forward, any time the boy spoke about the G.I. Joe, his brother would cry: “Booger Joe!” The little boy would object, but after a while, he gave up defending his choice and himself. When Christmas rolled around, and the G.I Joe unwrapped, the little boy no longer wanted his G.I. Joe action figure. Disappointment was all around. The little boy’s brother successfully ruined his little brother’s Christmas.
Now certainly the older brother might not have meant to ruin the little boy’s Christmas, but then again, maybe the older brother did mean to. Did the brother think that he was being funny? Did the older brother really have an objection to G.I. Joe? I seriously doubt it. My theory is that the older brother was being like older siblings are apt to be. He was teasing just to tease. He did not really care either way, but the little boy did care what his brother’s opinion was.
The little boy wanted his brother to join in his joy. He wanted him to say: “Cool” or maybe if the older brother had a useful opinion: “No, you don’t want a G.I. Joe, you want Cobra Commander. He has more weapons and a disguise.” I think the little boy would have even been fine with just a shrug or “beat it!” Instead the older brother ruins the toy for the little boy, neither because the toy was dangerous, nor because there might be something more awesome, but just because. Aah siblings!
As you might imagine growing up with three siblings, my father shouted the warning many times. “Don’t Booger Joe it!” Or perhaps even he would say: “Don’t be a Booger Joe” which meant that you were pretty much acting like a jerk to your sibling, trying to ruin his or her innocent fun. After the warning, and if the “booger joeing” continued, bottoms met a sore fate. That generally got the point across.
Even now, I use the term. I am surprised by how many people seem to understand it without the explanation. I guess they too learned the legend of Booger Joe. I imagine many of them have experienced “Booger Joeing.” Perhaps they were excited about a new job or relationship only to hear from a friend or family member: “Why would you want to do that?” Maybe they wanted to try something new, make a change in their life, and they heard: “Ugh, that sounds stupid or dangerous or…”
It is amazing the power of Booger Joe in others and ourselves. Frankly, it takes a strong person to withstand Booger Joe and pursue his or her desires or dreams, despite how silly they may seem to everyone else. And to those Booger Joes out there, it takes very little energy to gossip and be critical about something you do not care about, but it takes even less energy just to be supportive and smile. Perhaps if a Booger Joe could recognize his or her jealousy of another person being happy, he or she could join in that happiness.
Now, with all this said about Booger Joe, one might think that all critique and criticism is Booger Joeing. One might conclude that instead of having any contrary opinion, one must always be supportive and positive. That has a name. It is called “Honey Butting.”
To “Honey Butt” is to always see the bright side even when there is not a bright side. A “honey butt” is in fact a description of a Grizzly Bear’s honey covered bottom. Sure, it has honey on it, but you do not want to eat that honey. Think about it. For that matter, you might want to start running from the bear before it turns around and catches you trying to lick honey off its rear end.
“Honey Butting” often accompanies internal phrases like: “Who am I to judge” or “If it makes you happy” or “I guess this could work” or “Sure, I am okay with that” or “Yeah, y'all make a great couple.” To “Honey Butt” does not mean that the situation is necessarily dire, but that you are trying to make the best of it, being a good sport, but actually you should just get out of the situation. You are trying to convince yourself that you are happy, when a change is in order to get you to true happiness.
We all walk a fine line between Booger Joe and Honey Butt, but we can walk that line. We can be supportive and use good judgment. We can pursue our dreams, but we can also ask for help and advice from those who really love us. I think that might be the key in dealing with Booger Joe and Honey Butt. We have to really love each other enough to tell the truth in love, with love and to encourage in love, with love.