A used book found me by way of a grab bag: "The Official Politically Correct Dictionary and Handbook" by Henry Beard and Christopher Cerf (1994). First I thought it was serious. Then I looked at the fact that both authors are males, and I thought it was a spoof. Having read it, I find it extremely serious in a different way, mainly because what it deals with is not an evolutionary and, as it were, organic development of language but, like Newspeak in Orwell's novel, a willful manipulation of language for ideological purposes. And yes, it is hilarious, too.
A few items (with translation):
- Domestic incarceration survivor --- housewife
- Efemcipated --- emancipated
- Femhole --- manhole
- Femstruate --- menstruate
- Hispes --- herpes
- Hufem --- human
- Metabolically different --- dead
- Ovarimony --- testimony
- Ovular --- seminar
- She-ro --- hero
- nontraditional shopper --- shoplifter
- terminally inconvenienced --- dead
- womyn, wimyn --- female, women
- womage --- manage
Why is it that doctors call what they do 'practice'?
Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?
Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?
Why are they called apartments when they're all stuck together?
If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?
Birth, Ritalin, Prozac, Viagra, Death.
News from your child psychologist:
Children should be seen and not hurt.
Men - Women (again)
A man will pay £20 for a £10 item he needs.
A woman will pay £10 for a £20 item that she doesn't need.
A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't.
A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change, and she does.
A woman has the last word in any argument.
Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.
Old aunts used to come up to me at weddings, poking me in the ribs and cackling, telling me, "You're next."
They stopped after I started doing the same thing to them at funerals.
Jewish Haikus and Jewish Buddhist Sayings (New York, of course):
peace is knowing one's child
is an internist.
After the warm rain
the sweet smell of camelias.
Did you wipe your feet?
Her lips near my ear,
Aunt Sadie whispers the name
of her friend's disease.
Testing the warm milk
on her wrist, she sighs softly.
But her son is forty.
The same kimono
the top geishas are wearing:
I got it at Loehmann's.
Seven-foot Jews in
the NBA slam-dunking!
My alarm clock rings.
Sorry I'm not home
to take your call. At the tone
please state your bad news.
Is one Nobel Prize
so much to ask from a child
after all I've done?
Yenta. Shmeer. Gevalt.
Shlemiel. Shlimazl. Meshuganah
Oy! To be fluent!
If there is no self, whose arthritis is this?
Be here now.
Be someplace else later.
Is that so complicated?
Drink tea and nourish life;
with the first sip, joy;
with the second sip, satisfaction;
with the third sip, peace;
with the fourth, a Danish.
Wherever you go, there you are.
Your luggage is another story.
Accept misfortune as a blessing.
Do not wish for perfect health, or a life without problems.
What would you talk about?
There is no escaping karma.
In a previous life,
you never called,
you never wrote,
you never visited.
And whose fault was that?
Zen is not easy.
It takes effort to attain nothingness.
And then what do you have?
The Tao does not speak.
The Tao does not blame.
The Tao does not take sides.
The Tao has no expectations.
The Tao demands nothing of others.
The Tao is not Jewish.
Forget this and attaining Enlightenment will be the least of your problems.
Be aware of your body.
Be aware of your perceptions.
Keep in mind that not every physical sensation is a symptom of a terminal illness.
The Torah says,
Love your neighbor as yourself.
The Buddha says,
There is no self.
So, maybe we're off the hook.
Brilliant exam answers:
Why English Teachers Die Young
Every year, English teachers from across the country can submit their collections of actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays.
• His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
• She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
• She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
• He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.
• The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.
• From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.
• John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
• Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.
• The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
• The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
• He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.