I am upbraided by Perplexed Reader for using an obscure term in the Thanksgiving column without offering a clue as to what it might mean.

“I’ve heard Beavis and Butthead call someone they didn’t like an assmunch,” the complaining letter complains, “but what does that mean? And now you. I demand elucidation or clarification, although I’m not 100 percent certain that I really want to know. It sounds vile. It’s not in the dictionary.”

It’s obvious to me from Perplexed Reader’s letter that he or she is an assmunch also. Assmunches are always wanting you to give them something, whether a definition or some money you’ve owed them since way back when, or the respect they think they deserve. They just won’t leave you alone about it. They are like horseflies in that respect, though they would say gadflies, citing Socrates. That’s just how they are.

A lot of people I know qualify as assmunches — some are assmunches-first-class, some are assmunches at large, some assmunchers without portfolio, most just run-of-the-mill assmunches.

Drivers who cut you off are assmunches. When I’m driving, nearly all other drivers suddenly and mysteriously become assmunches, and I let them know about it, mouthing and gesticulating, thereby becoming a major-league assmunch myself in their view, I suppose. This is called the vicious circle of assmunchery.

People who use talking points and pretend that they thought them up themselves are assmunches.

People who blow their nose at the table during a meal are assmunches. Especially if they have to look at it afterward.

Maybe not every single living Republican is an assmunch, but all the ones I know personally are. Some of them may get over it someday. I hope so.

Cabinet members are notorious assmunches. Edwin Stanton was the biggest Cabinet assmunch, with Ed Meese not far behind. Ezra Taft Benson was the only Mormon postmaster general assmunch. I don’t know if Henry Kissinger was a Cabinet member, or just one of those gadflies, but he was an assmunch, all right. Still is, for all I know. John Mitchell — Mr. Assmunch.

People who make a big loud show of cheering on an even-money favorite at the race track are insufferable assmunches.

People who are always bumming a ride somewhere are assmunches. TV sports anchors are all assmunches. Randy Moss the football player is an assmunch but Randy Moss the horserace handicapper isn’t. As far as I know, he isn’t. Or maybe he is. Yeah, he is. Never mind.

Any way and every way you look at Wally Hall, you see assmunch.

People who show dogs are assmunches. People who dedicate touchdowns to their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ are assmunches. That’s what the Lord calls them — his exact term — in the Sermon on the Mount.

Now there are assmunches and there’s assmunchery, which is what assmunches do. The Catholic Church’s position on anything having to do with human sexuality is assmunchery. Every resolution passed by the Southern Baptist Convention in the last 35 years is assmunchery. U.S. policy in Iraq is assmunchery top to bottom, from the word go.

Assmunchery isn’t limited to people committing misdemeanors against good taste and good sense. There’s a large inorganic manifestation of it. Pine Bluff is an assmunch town, for instance. Going for it on fourth down on your own 29 in the first quarter against a bunch of assmunch Gamecocks is assmunch football.

There’s a half-million-dollar house here in my neighborhood that looks like a gee-dee Pizza Hut. The architectural style might be called cheesy, but it might be more formally and correctly called hick parvenu assmunchery.

Cheesiness has something in common with assmunchery, and so do ostentatiousness, humbuggery, grotesqueness, pretentiousness, mountebankery, sanctimoniousness, and bull dookey, but none of those qualities have to be present for assmunchery to prosper.

Those who assume that assmunchery is just another way of referring to what the pornographers call a rim job are mistaken. The error is likely attributable to literal mindedness, or to something else. Perhaps assmunchery itself is the cause. It’s not another name for brown-nosing, either, despite the relative metaphorical anatomical proximities. Nor does it have a literal connection with the old figure of speech describing a vigorous rebuke, from your boss, say, as “getting your ass eat out.”

That being said, Southerners love their dysphemisms and won’t hesitate to call a pal an assmunch, using it as a term of affection, like calling the rascal a crazy fool, or excrement-for-brains, or a whorehopper, or “Hunch.” I personally can’t view assmunchery so benignly though, either as an expression or a way of life. I’m for stamping it out every time it rears its ugly head. Let’s get some bumper stickers made up: Stamp Out Assmunchery.


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