The 7-year-old Hurricane boy is currently playing football in a tackle football league. He’s playing what we use to refer to as midget football. I guess it is no longer politically correct to say midget football and I’m not sure what I am supposed to call the game he is playing.
Before one of the games, he suggested we sit down on the grass to eat some peanuts. He said that we could sit cross-stitched style and I said, “You mean Indian style.” Of course, he was quick to remind me that you are not allowed to call sitting with your legs crossed, on the ground, Indian style, as that, too, is politically incorrect.
I thought the whole idea of calling Indian style sitting some other type made up name ridiculous and, in my earlier days, probably would have responded by saying, “That’s retarded.” Of course, you are not now allowed to say retarded and must use some other name such as gifted, mentally disabled, etc. That’s probably a good thing, but my problem is I can’t keep up with what once was considered OK to say, but now we must change the name so that it will not offend anyone and sound better.
There are a whole host of words that have now been changed. When I started practicing law, we always said someone was a suspect if they were suspected of committing a crime. They are now referred to as persons of interest. I don’t know how this helped anything by changing the name to persons of interest. If you are watching the news and see that your neighbor is now a person of interest in a murder, you still do the same thing you would have done if you heard your neighbor is a suspect in a murder. Namely, you bolt your doors closed, peer out the shutters at their house and probably buy a German shepherd to put in your yard.
That is the good thing about German shepherds. They do not know the difference between a suspect and a person of interest. In fact, a good German shepherd considers almost every person a person of interest.
Politicians are probably the best at shifting the words that we use to describe things. How about a defense secretary — or president — who refers to collateral damage? That is a nice way of saying we killed a bunch of people that we did not mean to kill and who probably had nothing to do with the conflict we are involved with. Saying we just killed a hundred innocent civilians, however, sounds bad. Collateral damage simply sounds like a new Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.
How about friendly fire? I don’t know anything friendly about being shot and killed by people on your own side. But, we don’t want to say we screwed up and bombed our own men.
How about when someone says, “We lost mama last night”? I remember when the Hurricane was only 3 or 4 and heard someone talking about losing their mama. I spent almost a whole weekend trying to get him to understand that the person had not lost their mama, but that their mama had passed away.
After a very long time, the Hurricane looked at me and said, “Oh, you mean she’s dead? Well, why didn’t they just say the mama was dead. She’s not lost, she’s just in heaven, unless, she went to the doom.”
The Hurricane didn’t like to say hell because he’d been told that was a bad word to say, so he and the Princess both called hell doom. I guess even little kids have ways of saying things that make it sound better.
Politicians also tell us that they’re exploring various “revenue enhancement proposals.” When you hear these words, you better head for the hills and take your wallet with you. Not a one will say we are considering a new tax proposal.
Catch a politician or a Hollywood star in an affair and they will say they were guilty of an indiscretion. Where I come from, if you’re caught in an indiscretion, you will be immediately in de’ doghouse.
Well, I’ve got to go see about a dog, which is a nice way of saying, I’ve run out of anything else to say.
Contact columnist T. Gamble at firstname.lastname@example.org.