(* lexiconvenience noun lex·i·con- ve·nience \ˈlek-sə-ˌkän- ˈvēn-yən(t)s
language made to fit personal preference) – editor’s note
I need a new word for euphemism.
As the world gets progressively weirder, and as I try to maintain some sense of dignity and self-control in my communications with others – both written and verbal – all the good euphemisms seem to be losing their luster from overuse – especially the ones people use to avoid to whole insensitivity-to-deity issue: gad, gadzooks, gosh; gee, jeepers, jeez.
Aside from their overuse, they lack etymological ‘oomph’ – unless you are currently starring in a production of Grease.
Before you offer up new, non-offensive, not oblique suggestions, keep in mind that euphemisms are not exactly synonyms – although the major disparagements of our language are showing a fair amount of wear-and-tear as well; moron, idiot, nitwit, halfwit, imbecile, twit, dolt, nimrod, et al, are repetitively redundant in an accelerated manner as never before seen.
Personally, I blame Facebook and Twitter, though the case could certainly be made that we are living in different times – the Age of the Buffoons, perhaps.
Doesn’t have the same pleasing linguistic lilt to it as ‘The Age of Enlightenment’ does it? Since we seem to be living in a time that is just the opposite realm of intellectual renewal, maybe my first euphemistic recalculation can be something along the lines of ‘The Age of Fried Filaments-ment’.
Eh, rather clunky. And too obscure – the younger folks used to curly bulbs will be as clueless as they are filamentless.
I do have a personal euphemism that I coined a few years back, but it hasn’t really caught on in any major way: “Son-of-a-Bisquick-pancake!” I find it a catchy little euphemism good for all sorts of occasions, and with a tweak to a syllabic inflection here-or-there, you can punch it up to convey a wide range of emphasis and meanings. Starting out with a hard, guttural “SON-OF-A…’” will get attention more quickly than a wistful, musing, ‘son of a…’ – the euphemistic equivalent of a Jimmy Stewart-ish “Whattaya know about that.”
‘Son-of-a-Bisquick-pancake!’ perfectly fits the definition of euphemism, too. As is my wont, I turn to my friends at Merriam-Webster:
‘Euphemisms can take different forms, but they all involve substituting a word or phrase considered to be less offensive than another.
The substituted word might, for example, be viewed as a less coarse choice, as when dang or darn is used instead of damn or damned.’
That is another personal, flexible euphemism I like to use, and it usually hits its mark
because, as I have gleefully discovered, if you say it with a bit of a chuckle, it gets a laugh, but when you add in a disapproving look and an edgier inflection, not a lot of people find the applied moniker ‘Skippy’ to be one of subjective endearment.
“Damn, Skippy! Lighten up!”
As sometimes happens, though, doing my homework results in some different perspectives that don’t always fit my narrative thesis. As the fine folks at M-W reminded me, ‘a euphemism may also consist of an indirect softening phrase that is substituted for the straightforward naming of something unpalatable: people being “let go” rather than “fired”; civilians killed in war described as “collateral damage…”
Damn, Skippy! That’s just watering stuff down to make things seems peachier than they really are, and I don’t think we need to go down that road, as the idea of making something all soft-and-sweet-and-vague in this age of chaos and uncertainty is already being expanded by the absurdity of ‘alternative facts’ – which is not a euphemism for ‘opinion’ it is just plain wrong from a grammatical and practical standpoint.
And that is an English teacher fact, though this next one is my opinion: ‘alternative fact’ is the most pure and unspoiled of oxymoron, a complete and contradictory abomination of language and rational thought. Though not being totally comfortable with the medical origins of the word ‘moron’ maybe I should opt for something more neutral; oxyclod? Oxydolt? Oxydunce, perhaps.
This is the point where you, dear reader, gets to say to me, “Damn, Skippy! Step back!”
Son-of-a-Bisquick pancake. You really did.