Euphemisms, Poop-amisms
0 comment Wednesday, August 27, 2014 |
This weekend, I went out of town for a continuing education conference. As I checked into the hotel, I noticed a tasteful little sign, propped up on the counter at the registration desk. "Attention debit card holders: We will charge your debit card in advance for the number of days you are registered to stay with us, together with a daily charge of $100.00 to cover incidentals. This protects the hotel from charge-backs and other discomforts."
Discomforts? Sure, I've had dentists lie to me and say, "Now, you may experience a little discomfort." But I've never heard a business describe its losses as a "discomfort." That's definitely a new one.
Driving through numerous small towns on my way back home, I saw one little town was still proudly advertising its big tourist draw. "OATMEAL FESTIVAL -- Labor Day." Oatmeal Festival? Now that might be a euphemism I can live with. Better than "FIBER FESTIVAL" which would probably get no takers.
My interest piqued by this hip little town, I started paying more attention to the signs along the way. The next one I came across was a big government sign planted in front of a big government building. The sign said "Intermediate Sanctions Facility."
Whoa. The Intermediate Sanctions Facility. Doesn't sound too inviting. Maybe I can threaten Mr. M. with these places when he's acting up. Look, dude, get over it or else I'll take you to the Oatmeal Festival, and then you'll spend the night at the Intermediate Sanctions Facility. I can just imagine his reaction. "OATMEAL Festival?! Mom, you know I HATE oatmeal. But what is the Intermediate Sanctions Facility? What is a sanction?"
Well, I'll tell him, there will be so many activities to amuse you at the Oatmeal Festival. Just think of them all. There are sure to be lots of children there, appreciating the texture of the oatmeal as they dig their hands deep into vats of raw oats, watching the oats boil, stirring the oatmeal on the stove, putting brown sugar or honey on the oatmeal, and then eating the oatmeal. It will be a grand time.
We might even see the Oatmeal Queen waving to us from a float. Imagine the thrill! Of course, not all of the children from the town will be attending the festival. Some of them are being warehoused at the Intermediate Sanctions Facility, where I will be taking you, if you don't shape up. It's a place for people who do bad things, but not REALLY bad things . . . you know, "intermediate" sorts of bad things. So the sanctions imposed on these people are, well, intermediate. But don't worry, little man. It's not a full-blown prison where you'll be staying.
And then I started thinking about all of the euphemisms we encounter in our daily lives. Remember starting high school and finding out janitors were now called "environmental engineers"? When stewardesses became flight attendants? When AIDS became "HIV Positive"? Incontinence? No, NO! It's "overactive bladder"! Impotence? No, NO! It's Bob Dole. I'm not wearing a diaper, silly. I'm wearing Depends. And then we had Marabel Morgan, who turned a generation of housewives into "domestic goddesses" in her book The Total Woman.
I can do a whole lot better than "domestic goddess." And I can sure do without Marabel's romance-reviving tip: that we meet our husbands at the front door naked, wrapped only in Saran-Wrap. "Well, hellooo there, Mr. UPS. What's that? What can Brown do for me? Umm, not sure. Let me collect myself. I . . . well . . . actually, I thought you were someone else. But I've always thought you were a major hunk, truly. So where exactly should I sign to get your package?"
Just think of all the things we do every day for our families. Once I filed a petition for an occupational driver's license, for an out-of-state housewife who lost her driver's license because of a DWI. The petition must describe the person's occupation . . . because it is granted so the person can do their job. The petition for my housewife was the longest one I ever filed. Oh, the things I came up with. Every single one was true, and the list is by no means exhaustive.
Ground traffic controller, entrepreneurial consultant, dietitian and nutritionist, master chef, recipe composer, educator, correspondence analyst, chauffeur, guidance counselor, fundraising organizer, vendor negotiator, exercise and activities specialist, coordinator of structural and internal maintenance and repair, college admissions advisor, higher education tour guide, human resources engineer, revenue maximization officer, music censor, accountant, school liaison, personal shopper, librarian, media coordinator, food shopping analyst, doctor credentialing expert, chemical research consultant, psychologist, behavioral therapist, tailor, human relations director, and chief operating officer of a non-profit organization.
We are even waste disposal specialists. But call it what you will. Because no euphemistic label will ever change the fact that we clean up bloody noses, wipe up after the occasional vomiting episode, change the cat litter or pick up the dog's poop, and take out the garbage. We more than carry our weight. And as for me, well . . . it's more weight than I would like to carry. And, no these featured thighs are not mine, but they might as well be. Now, if I could just throw my weight around and make it go somewhere else.