Once upon a time within the last couple of years, the extended family was sitting by a poolside and chatting. Somehow the topic came up that any word beginning with the letter “B” and ending with “itch” could never be good. Our older son asked, point-blank, “What about belonavitch?”
I know, it’s one of those things you had to be there and hear his tone of voice, but the word cracked up our group.
Don’t belittle the euphemism. It can soften a blow, such as saying “The dog went to that squirrel-filled park in the sky” instead of blurting “Puddles died.” It can also be slyly humorous if instead of stating “These leftovers went bad” you announce “I found another science experiment.”
There are, of course, different levels of evil that euphemisms can take (does the Orwellian term doublespeak ring a bell?), coming into play when they say resettlement instead of death camps, or speak of unity when they really mean submission.
While writing as a whole should be direct and concise, it’s subtleties like this which give it a different level of flavor, like adding a teaspoon of curry to potato soup. And because I always try to be “family-friendly,” euphemisms work well when bluntness wants to be an instrument of mass destruction. Words like heck, shoot, and darn get lots of mileage.
Speaking of mileage….
Shortly after we discovered a new word at the poolside, Hubby got a new smartphone. He decided to try out the GPS function on it (I’ll admit there have been many times I looked up from the map just in time to say “We need to turn – on that road we just passed.”), and quickly confirmed what we already knew: Don’t trust those things.
Oh sure, they can be helpful with finding locations in cities, but in the country they often turn out to be garbage (I’m being euphemistic). They do things like take you on dusty gravel roads when there’s a more direct route on blacktop, or send you to a golf course instead of the home you’re trying to locate.
It didn’t take me long to assign a name (you know, like Siri or Alexa) to the GPS program on Hubby’s phone. You guessed it: He knows what I mean when I speak of Belonavitch.
Yes, you heard me, Belonavitch. The paper map in our car won’t become a science experiment anytime soon….