To be a proper curmudgeon, one has to be old. Young people simply can't get away with it. Having earned the right through surviving youth and middle age, tolerating past employers, and the dubious honor of raising children, I now claim what is mine by nature. I am a grumpy old man. And today's sermon is about one of my pet peeves, euphemisms.
Oops! I used the word "old." We no longer have old people, we have "senior citizens." I laughed when a relative in his mid-80s recently told me that he goes down to a center each month to fix breakfast for the senior citizens. I wonder how old they are? Some of our senior citizens move into "assisted living" facilities. A prized curmudgeon, author Wilma Dykeman, described her last residence as an "assisted dying" facility. That seems to be a better fit with what I've seen.
I don't think we even have a word for the room where the toilet is located. We have "lavatories" (to wash), "bathrooms" (to bathe), "restrooms" (to rest), none of which actually refers to the main reason for the visit. The Brits have "loo," which hasn't caught on here. I found that it originally referred to a card game in which "forfeits are paid into a pool." That's getting there. The Brits have proven once more that they are more creative than the Yanks. I guess that's why we speak English. Thankfully we are becoming bilingual, and businesses are starting to post signs declaring "baño." Maybe it will catch on. Oops! Even that word means "bath" in Spanish.
The military has given us "collateral damage," which means killing people and breaking things that were not the intended targets of an attack. No one wants to advertise the killing of children, after all. And then there's "ethnic cleansing," which is what we did to the indigenous peoples when we burned villages and crops, killed, and finally relocated the Native Americans to Indian Territory. That was a bad thing when it happened in the former Yugoslavia.
Finally, those seeking immortality would be well-advised to move to Morgan County, Tennessee. If the obituary section of The Morgan County News is any indicator, no one has died in this county in living memory. A full page of obits every week never says that any loved one has died. Instead we are given a variety of euphemisms, both religious and secular. My instructions to my sons are clear. When it's time to put a notice in the paper, the first sentence must read "He died." In fact, that should suffice for the entire obit! Anything more would be just putting lipstick on a pig.