Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Alternatives for the "S word"

I wrote a few months ago about the "S word" and its un-PC nature. Regardless of how unacceptable the word itself remains, unfortunately there are those among us (or the actions of any of us at identifiable times) that can best be described with the word or one of its more acceptable alternatives.

Of course there are unimaginative descriptive alternatives such as: dumb, dense, brainless, slow, foolish, imbecilic, moronic, senseless, or backward.

We could go the Charlie Brown route and call the person in question a block-head!

Some of the possibilities make the S-condition sound almost loveable. For example, "Bless his heart, he's just goosey." Or "You little numbskull!" Or "She is such a nitwit!" Or What a dunce!" Or "He's just a big ol' oaf."

Some choices have other unrelated meanings or are unfamiliar and might be misunderstood. The use of these would then fail to accomplish one's purpose: simple, doltish, insensate, witless, fatuous, thick, or dull might fall into this category.

I can think of at least one that is even less acceptable than the S-word (shhhhhhh -- it's retarded. shhhhhh)

You didn't read that one here.

Some folks have tried to compare the wits of the S-word-infected persons with expressions such as: slow-witted, thick-witted, beef-witted, dim-witted, half-witted, or some-other-kind-of-witted.

Some describe the mind instead of the wit and use the same adjectives: feeble-minded, weak-minded, or simple-minded, for example.

Some go whole hog and describe the whole head as infected with the deficiency: The person in question might be a beetle-head, a chuckle-head, a fathead, or a pinhead. She/he could be described as sheep-headed, thick-headed, or beetle-headed.

I like the more colorful options: Dead between the ears has a ring to it. "There's a dim light in the attic" is picturesque. How do you like "The elevator doesn't go to the top floor" or "not playing with a full deck," "a couple of blocks behind the parade," "doesn't have the sense God gave an animal cracker," or "has the IQ of a salad bar."?

I personally find myself using "doesn't have the sense God gave a goose" when I am pressed for this description, although I have been known to use "has it floored in neutral," "must have been dropped on his head," or "his clutch is slipping."

My current favorite would require a long explanation involving a misunderstanding of one of my daughter's students a few years ago. She could give you the background much better than I could. However suffice it for the time being to say: "That person is just an E-Word."

See #2 of my last Sunday Seven if you wonder why I keep thinking about this subject. Ol' CC (who is all of the above) just won't let us relegate him to the realm of memory. He has reared his UGLY E-Word head again today.

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