I’m always amused when new words and phrases enter the literary universe. Each year the fine folks who publish Webster’s Dictionary endorse what has crept into our daily vocabulary. In the past few years alone we’ve found it perfectly all right to say tazed, texting, sexting and twerking. If you can use those in one sentence you win a prize. They still haven’t approved conversate, which doesn’t exist, but give them time.
Lately a few new ones have caught my attention. A couple of months ago I was informed that my place of employment, where I’ve worked for twenty-plus years, is being shut down. Here’s the way it was spun.
The buildings will be repurposed so they can be sold. I suppose repurposed sounds better than rehabilitated or remodeled. Since I work for a public agency, the spin is everything. After all, criminals get rehabilitated and houses get remodeled. We’re merely being evicted by the Governor.
I found out that I’m not being terminated—I’m being downsized. That’s a polite way for the State of Ohio to say “After years of faithful service and outstanding work performance, we don’t really have anything for you to do and we don’t want you hanging around. Oh, and don’t forget to leave your key to the employee restroom when you clock out for the last time.”
The unemployment office is no longer called that. It is now the “Ohio Means Jobs” agency. If that means “Ohio will find you a new job after yanking the rug out from under you,” then by all means call it anything you want.
I also learned from these people that I won’t be classified as unemployed. I will be called a “displaced employee.” That sounds nicer than “fired,” “canned,” “shit out of luck,” and “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!”
All employees are being encouraged not to look on this as a bad thing, but as an opportunity for growth. Let’s get with the program—this will force us to further our education, seek out a more rewarding career and forge a new future! For the record, this is being referred to as “crossing the threshold.” I can’t speak for everyone else, but this is one threshold I don’t really want to cross.
Several years ago, during the Great Recession, we were all told that we would be taking two weeks of cost saving days, where we were expected to work but not get paid. Uh…excuse me, but doesn’t private business call that a lay-off? In our case, it was called “Bend over—here it comes again!”
On a side note, I recently decided to quit smoking (again) and invested in one of the new e-cigarettes to help me do it. I found out that you don’t puff these e-cigs, you vape them. A friend had good luck quitting this way and when she inquired about my progress, she asked me if I was still vaping. That’s right up there with conversate.
Oooh—I found a way to use the words in the first paragraph! “I accidentally sexted my friend a video of his girlfriend twerking on YouTube, so she tazed me.”
What do I win?
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Tim Smith is an award-winning, bestselling author whose books range from romantic mystery/thrillers to contemporary erotic romance. His website is www.timsmithauthor.com.