Saturday, January 5, 2013

Retirement Updates — Banned Words for 2013

It’s time for the annual lists that proliferate on the Internet, including banned words and phrases. I put together my own candidates, confident that several entries would be no-brainers on everyone’s list of what we can do without in 2013.

Lake Superior State University, which just issued its 38th collection, confirmed what I expected. Everyone wants to get rid of ‘fiscal cliff.’ And with good reason. If we’ve learned nothing else from the political talk shows, it’s that it’s not really a cliff; it’s more of a slope. And ‘fiscal slope’ just doesn’t resonate like the cliff does.

We now know that we barely toppled over the cliff and were hauled back up. The most feared part of that plunge, the increase in income taxes, would have been leveled off in January anyway. Once we had gone over the cliff, or down the slope, or into the swamp, Republican Congressmen would have voted for a decrease in the just-raised taxes, instead of having had to vote in December for an increase (to the exact same levels). Maybe now we can get rid of ‘the blame game,’ too, and move forward.

I’m picking up ‘kick the can down the road’ from LSSU’s list, since Congress seems to have done that with the deficit. My list of fiscal culprits also includes ‘short-term fix.’ What we need is a long-term solution, along with a catchy label for it. ‘Durable fix’ sounds like a manufacturing term, while ‘abiding’ sounds archaic, or even religious. Let’s take our cue from the adoption organizations helping to find ‘forever homes’ for animals and find a ‘Forever Fix.’

Getting back to the ‘deficit,’ I’m banning that, too. It has such a negative aura. ‘Shortfall’ sounds better, but it has its own baggage, conjuring up targets not met. Let’s use the simpler word ‘gap;’ it means the same but doesn’t sound as threatening. ‘Gap’ seems less judgmental; it just tells it like it is. The button no longer reaches the buttonhole. Either lose some weight or buy one of those elasticized extenders.

Another word I’m replacing is ‘entitlements.’ Medicare (which I’m on) and Social Security (which I now collect) are, in fact, entitlements, in the sense that I’ve worked my entire life and paid into them and I’m therefore now entitled to collect. But the misapprehension that some lawmakers have created is that they’re somehow gifts. They’re really earned benefits, so I propose we call them ‘Earnefits.’

One of my top candidates that surprisingly doesn’t appear on other lists is ‘Fifty Shades of’ anything. The Grey trilogy, aka the Housewife’s Sex Handbook, has been so hyped and has inspired so much satire, that I think I will gag if I see ‘fifty shades’ again. OK. Maybe ‘gag’is a poor choice of words…

Speaking of housewives: please, Lord, let us be done with ‘The Real Housewives of’ anywhere. Mercifully, ‘Jersey Shore’ will soon be as washed up as love letters in the sand. If only we could say the same for ‘Real Housewives.’ If only.

Another phrase many agree should be shown the door in 2013 (but not LSSU) is ‘Gangnam Style,’ the dance South Korean pop phenom, Psy, does. Most folks think it’s ‘Gangam Style’ (leaving out the second ‘n’). If the dance weren’t ubiquitously annoying enough on its own, its cumbersome spelling would get it banned. Even Psy feels Gangnam Style has run its course. His final performance of it was on New Year’s Eve and he promises (threatens?) to come up with something equally as invasive in 2013.

My final phrase will probably die a natural death, but just in case: fie on ‘Call Me Maybe.’ As with ‘Gangnam Style,’ it’s not just that the song lyric is heard all over. It simply doesn’t make any sense. ‘Call Me Sometime’ makes sense. ‘Maybe I’ll Call You’ makes sense. But ‘Call Me Maybe’? Call me out of touch, I guess.

There you have it: my ten offenders to send to the lexicography locker room for a cold shower in 2013. If you don’t agree with my choices, don’t call me. I’ll call you. Maybe.


FrankT said...

Not a dirty word in the bunch. Whodathunkit?

Elaine M. Decker said...

Frank, I like to keep the dirty ones, not ban them! If you read between the lines, you'll get some interesting imagery from the comments on one of the banned phrases.