Malphonistically Speaking

Euphomisms make sense to me. When we talk about difficult and profound things in benign terms, they seem less intimidating.

And we're less likely to frighten any small children who may be in the room.

But why, why, why do we then turn around and talk about benign, commonplace events in the somberest of terms?

I tried to call Andy at work this evening, but his cell phone battery has been on the fritz, and it didn't even ring, just transfered me straight to his voice mail.

"Uh-oh," I said sadly, "We can't talk to Dadders after all. His phone's dead."

And now my sons are utterly convinced that they are fatherless.


Anonymous said...

I got a letter the other day from someone who was trying to tell me about his very sad story and why I needed to send him money. It was along the lines of "I'm very poor. I can't afford to go to school. I am all alone in the world." And then they had the utter misfortune of bringing in a new English idiom that they had learned "When I was at a very young age my parents kicked the bucket."

Not the effect he was going for.

Anonymous said...

The dead phone reminds me of the story of the Wuggy Grandpa who as a little boy was horrified when he overheard his parents talking in hushed tones about someone being fired...

Elena said...