4 September 2006
So, it seems that everybody on the entire planet has heard the news about Steve Irwin by now. I was originally planning to be the very first blog to break out the bad taste and start making jokes, but Scott Adams beat me to it. Having lost the shock value that comes from being first, and having being no real fan of Steve Irwin while he was alive, anything else I have to say on the subject would fall into the categories of either insensitivity or hypocrisy.
However, one thing I did appreciate about the coverage of the Crocodile Hunter's death was the extreme bluntness of the reporting and complete lack of euphemisms. Usually when the media refers to the demise of any famous individual that wasn't murdered or committed suicide, the favourite terms are 'passed away' and 'unfortunate accident that resulted in a fatality�. This made me start thinking about all of the other euphemisms out there, and how almost all small children misinterpret them. I know this is somewhat the point of using euphemisms, but it really is just cruel to let that kid think that their grandparents wouldn�t even call them from that farm that nobody�s allowed to visit.
There�s lots of examples of euphemisms that could be misinterpreted:
"Worshipping the Porcelain God": As a child, for years I imagined that there was some sort of cult that had some false idol made out of porcelain. In my head, though, this �god� did not resemble a toilet, but more some sort of white elephant with thirteen tusks. The truth was a crushing disappointment, once I realised that all those people I knew were not, in fact, part of some bizarre unlucky-elephant-worshipping cult.
"Going to the Little Girl's/Boy's Room": This one has just always sounded creepy. As though you're planning to illegally trespass into some poor unsuspecting child's room to powder your nose.
"Cutting the Cheese": How many children have eagerly awaited cheese sandwiches, and were instead awarded with something much worse? Just say you farted! Kids love it, and given the state of prime-time television, most adults think it's hilarious too!
My personal favourite is 'I've got one in the oven'. There's about a million ways to misinterpret this one. As most people would know, that's usually a euphemism for "I'm pregnant", but it's all too easy to take it literally and assume that the person saying that actually has a child at home, cooking in their oven Hanzel-and-Gretel style. In turn, couldn't "I'm pregnant" eventually come to be a euphemism for "I've got parasites"? Because when you stop and think about it, isn't that what babies really are? They're little human parasites. They grow inside an adult female's organs, making her sick for months on end while leeching nutrients and oxygen from her until they reach maturity. Often, this parasitic nature can continue for the child's entire life, even after they've physically detached themselves from their host.
This perspective is probably why I should never ever become a mother. I would probably wind up treating any children I had like science projects.
Next update: What would happen if you kept a child in a perfectly white environment, with no other colours present, for the first ten years of their life?