Losing your job is scary. It raises many frightening questions. Can you find another job? How will you pay the bills in the meantime? Where will you get health insurance? Most importantly, what tacky and ridiculous euphemism will mask your firing so a corporate supervillain can sleep at night?
I twerking love euphemisms.
Let me explain.
As you're probably aware, the primary meaning of twerk
is a bizarre form of dancing that looks more like a medical condition than anything attractive.
Just as a biologist can tell a critter from a creepy-crawly by the number of legs, euphemism enthusiasts can tell a 5-alarm, major-league, restaurant-quality euphemism by the presence of three words. Readers of previous columns may remember terms such as employee dialogue session, strategic dynamism effort, enhanced pension offer, life problem issue, taco meat filling,
and customer pain point
. Every time, three words = three metric tons of malarkey.
In his latest monthly batch of under-the-radar euphemisms, Mark Peters illuminates why the care of "post-health professionals" might be necessary after someone is sent on a "trip to Belize."
Rebranding — which is a heckuva euphemism itself — has been the root cause of many euphemisms over the years, as fish have become sea kittens
and rich jerks have become job creators
. The latest attempt at ridiculous, retch-worthy rebranding is knowledge people
: in other words, librarians.
Lexicographer Hugh Rawson died recently. Among other accomplishments, he wrote Rawson's Dictionary of Euphemisms and Other Doubletalk
, a monumental, essential look at euphemisms that every language-lover should own. I can't recommend it enough.
I believe in equality: in society and in columns. Last month, I looked at the prolific use of gentleman
in euphemisms. This month, I turn to lady.
Lady euphs prove something I always suspected: the English language is seldom a well-behaved lady, but it always shows you a good time.