The other day in our staff meeting, we started talking about roadkill. Don’t ask why. Let’s just say that our staff meetings are rarely predictable. The conversation devolved, not only to roadkill, but to the eating thereof.
And Sharon blurted out “Possum panini!”
And I said, “You know, that just sounds naughty. It’s like you’re using a euphemism for an itty-bitty possum p…”
Subsequent embellishments on this theme left us holding our sides and weeping tears of laughter/agony. It took awhile before we actually got back to business.
Afterwards, I started thinking about the oddities of the English language. Some words just sound… rude. Even if they’re not. Lists of these have already been compiled, by people far more eloquent and twisted than I. Just Google “words that sound dirty but aren’t”. Hell, there’s even a Facebook group.
It’s easy to see why most of those words made the lists. They’re pretty close to other words that generally don’t get used in polite company. But certain “innocent” words bother me, too. Here are a few:
Flaccid – Maybe because the “fla-” phonetic is an onomatopoeia for the sound of a limp dead fish being slapped against a hard surface? I dunno. The word just grosses me out.
Flabby – Probably because it’s flaccid’s cousin, but jigglier. You know what I mean. We’re talkin’ Jello smacked against a hard surface. Same sound effect, different visual.
Puce – Maybe because it looks/sounds too much like “puke”? Because it means “flea” in French? Because it’s part of the word “prepuce”? Because it’s necessary to wrinkle your nose when you pronounce it? “Peeuuwss…” So many possibilities, but it offends me on some deep level. It seems to me that the colour it describes should be revolting snot-green, not dark brownish-purple.
Juggernaut – I haven’t a clue why, but this word just annoys me.
Scenario – Seems filled with self- importance. It reminds me of the clichéd B-movie villain twirling his moustache and chortling. Mustachio? Scenario? Maybe there’s some association there.
Indeed – I know the reason for my antipathy towards “indeed”. A certain writer for a certain magazine uses it so frequently that I’ve developed a permanent allergy. I’ve wanted to write a letter to the editor for about three years now, but I can’t figure out a way to do it without sounding like a wack job. So I included it here instead. Somehow it’s more acceptable to look like a wack job on my own blog.
Despite my hang-ups, I still use these words when necessary. When it’s the right word, ya gotta use it. Well, except “juggernaut”. I draw the line at that.
What about you? What words drive you crazy for no particular reason? Or am I the only one with this problem?