Saturday, December 15, 2012

Retirement Terminology — A Group By Any Other Name

A photo in a magazine showed a huge black cloud of birds, high above rooftops. It was described as a ‘murmuration of starlings.’ I’d heard of a ‘gaggle of geese’ and an ‘exaltation of larks,’ but never ‘murmuration.’ I was entranced and instantly fell in love with the term. A little Googling turned up a ‘gulp of swallows,’ a ‘convocation of eagles,’ and — be still my heart — an ‘ostentation of peacocks.’

It turns out many of these are poetic inventions, often centuries old, and several books on such terms have been published over the years. The website tells us: Type ‘collective nouns’ into any Web search engine: you’ll find dozens of sites featuring them, though the level of wit is sadly variable.

Upon reading Michael Quinion’s article on collective nouns, I likewise instantly fell in love with his website. I also decided that I have an obligation to come up with some witty ‘collective nouns’ for retirees and seniors. Here goes.

Recreational groups:
A gabble of Mah Jong players, gossiping about their neighbors
A sproutation of garden club members, repotting their seedlings
A slithering of shuffleboard addicts, slipping their discs
A procrastination of checkers enthusiasts, plotting their moves
A bouffant of square dancers at the community center hoedown
A muster of dominoes aficionados, lining up their tiles

Some everyday collectives:
A scootation of Hoveround® riders, headed to the mall
A droople of Sansabelt® wearers, hiking up their pants
A tippling of sherry lovers, imbibing in the afternoon
A snooze of nappers, practicing their snores (after sherry hour…)
An explication of crossword puzzle buffs, filling in the blanks
A loopation of Velcro® devotees, adjusting their shoe straps

Medical terms:
A clatter of denture wearers, adjusting their teeth
A glom of seniors on statins, trying to unclog their arteries
A congestion of fiber enthusiasts, on line at the restroom (also trying to unclog…)
A tumble of folks with vertigo, riding the ‘down’ escalator
A gimp of orthopedic patients, doing physical therapy

Special bunches of women:
A frumple of blue-haired old ladies, crocheting toilet paper cozies
A noblesse of volunteers, dressed in their finest goody two shoes
A swarm of quilters, circling at their weekly bee
A dithering of envelope stuffers, helping with a church mailing
An omnibustle of book club members, arguing about character motivation

There you have it, my list to date. I hope you find the level of wit consistently above average. Your own suggestions are welcome, but you might want to read Quinion’s article first:

Copyright 2012 Business Theatre Unlimited

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