We all use these.  Politicians use them a lot.   We typically call it “spin” when they do it.

Some euphemisms are intended just to take the rough edge off of an expression that might be considered hurtful. For example, I cannot tell you how sick I got and continue to get when people refer to Nathan’s death as his “passing,” or talk about him being “on the other side” or some such shit.  He didn’t “pass.” He died.

I know they do it in an effort to spare either my feelings or their own, but it grates very badly with me.  He died.  Just say it.  It’s okay.

Sometimes we use euphemisms to keep from having to say a word that might be considered impolite. We ask the waitress, quietly, where the restroom is.  Not the bathroom or the toilet.  We say that our neighbor is between jobs, when he’s actually unemployed.

Then occasionally we use euphemisms when we’re making light of something, often to mock whatever it is.  For instance, going back to death, we say that the person kicked the bucket, or croaked.

But very frequently, we use euphemisms to mask what something really is, to make it sound better than it actually is.

Here’s a sample of the main dining room menu on the Norwegian Star (our cruise ship—we were on there so long I feel a kind of ownership of the thing).

As you can see, this wasn’t too bad.  It was a formal dining room called Versailles and it lived up to the name.

We loved the place and ate there nearly every meal. The menu was easy to choose from and the descriptions adequate. There was nothing there that left me shaking my head.  You can see exactly what you are ordering.  If you get the salmon, you know it’s broiled, that it comes with red potatoes and some spinach along with a sauce that has chives in it.

Contrast that to this.

From Logan restaurant‘s menu, as quoted here.

What the actual fuck is all that shit?  Reading it carefully, it’s just some bread (why would anyone use the term “brick” to describe bread, for god’s sake), with the middle hollowed out and filled with a mixture of lobster, pickled radish (honestly, I don’t think so) and cabbage, complete with a sauce. The “micro” (meaning baby) greens were “locally harvested.”  Yeah.  Great.

There is actually good reasoning behind all this pretension.

A study was done involving wine and restaurant food.  It’s worth reading about, so I won’t bore you by repeating the details, but the bottom line was that if people perceive their surroundings (and that includes wine) as expensive, they enjoy entire experience more and that includes the food.

The food on board the Norwegian Star was good. Not fabulous and great and all that, but good.

After all, for much of our voyage, we were crossing the Atlantic ocean.  This is just a tiny portion of what was stowed away at nearly every stop we made. They brought food on board to feed a couple of thousand people (there were about one thousand staff and an equal number of passengers for our transatlantic portion) and it had to last about two weeks.  Frozen is a necessity in those circumstances.

What was superb was the setting, the service, the ambiance.  And because we had a wine dude who showed up at dinner every evening with our marked bottles of wine along with a silver ice bucket on a stand for my white wine, and poured the damned stuff for us, well, it tasted better.

But the lobster thing is still pretentious as hell.

And so are these terms:

Unschooling when what your kids really do is whatever they want (except when they’re working for your business).

Composting toilet when what you’re doing is. . . well, you know.  How many times do I have to describe it?

Homesteading when what you’re actually doing is nothing at all.

Gardening when you’re just tossing some seed in the ground and hoping something different will happen than what happened last time you tried that.

Tiny home living when you actually are doing is living in a garden shed.

Repurposing when you mean that you’re making do with scraps and leftovers.

Cooking when what you’re actually doing is heating up canned food.

Cabin when what you really had was a jerry-built shanty.

This is not about trying to make Nicole look worse than she is. It’s about being honest about what she is actually doing.  Lobster in a hollowed-out bread bowl thing is probably delicious (well, except for the pickle thing). There is no need to describe it in flowery terms that nobody understands.

If what she is doing is so great, why not just call it what it is?

The lunch dish I showed above was tuna salad with fries. Yes, it was served in a very nice place by super people with an ocean view and that made it taste really good. But it was still tuna salad and fries.

And her unschooling is still nothing at all.




13 thoughts on “Euphemisms”

  1. I agree with this post with one small exception: I find daikon tastes a lot more like parsnips than the biting, western-style radishes.


  2. Come on, throwing shit buckets on the ground is exactly like composting properly while taking precautions to avoid contaminating the water table! And they covered it with a tarp that was just invisible during the health inspector’s visit.

    You’re telling such mean lies Sally!

    Oh, and the third wall was totally there, it was just taken down for the summer!

    Self delusion is an impressive thing.


  3. Oh, and the third wall was totally there, it was just taken down for the summer!

    You know, that story about the fourth wall is something I really believe is likely true. I think it was horribly rigged, but present. That was a really cold winter. I know they slept in the van some because of the cold, but they didn’t sleep in the van for the whole winter and it was a brutal one. That’s why I believe the story.


  4. I’m sure there was something resembling a wall there, but totally inadequate as protection from the weather based on the appearance of the other 3 walls. I just find the idea of a removable wall amusing.

    Even with the current shed, they insulated the walls, but don’t seem to have bothered with the roof or the floor. Hope it’s not a cold winter for the kids’ sake.


  5. I don’t believe there was a 4th wall. Tarps/blankets most likely, much like the side door there. I don’t think there was a framed area for a front door either, but I could be wrong it’s been a while. But the key reasons I don’t believe in the 4th wall is because in the few weeks it had been removed it was repurposed.
    Repurposed into what???? What would make them for the first time in their life not throw it in a pile for later. I don’t recall it being said what it was used. Where was the door, was there an actual door with wood and a handle?? Surely if there was you could show us what the door was repurposed into.

    Next Nicole takes TONS of pictures. There was not 1, not even a if you squint real hard you can see it way back there picture of that 4th wall. Not even pictures of them removing the wall or repurposing that wall either.

    The reason they survived without an actual 4th wall was because the tarps over the kitchen area helped block and they had something covering that side like tarps/blankets, but not a wall.

    To believe there was a 4th wall,

    You believe they had first built a handy dandy removable wall.

    Believe handy dandy wall was then removed.

    Then in a timely and productive manner repurposed it for something beneficial for the family or homestead.

    All of which was done without photographic evidence.


  6. “I know my body and let me enjoy my pregnancy” when you eschew prenatal care with disastrous results.


  7. They are homeless. I suppose a garden shed is better than a card board box…
    They may be leasing he property or what not, however homeless is homeless. The amount of money spent at Hardee’s could have paid for a double wide trailer.
    Their living conditions remind me of what I would see when I would drive by tent city in Seattle. Port a potty,garbage and tarps a plenty.


  8. Very good!

    Another one, is “outdoor kitchen”. Envisioning at least an outdoor cooking stove of sound and safe construction. Something a little more purposeful, than an old drop in sink in a cut out on a wood stand.

    Euphemisms are colored for our own paradigms, too. When she says cabin, visions of a little romantic chalet. Another one, virgin wilderness, I think that had been a description of the property. Stay-at-home dad is another one.

    Free ranging, is another one. Not exactly the paradigm vision of better, healthier. Animal husbandry.

    I am not so sure of self delusional. Rather, intentionally colored for our own paradigms.


  9. All lies, the HH was talking about deer hunting. Unless they intended to eat it at one sitting, forget about it. They have no way to freeze anything, no water to clean up the meat. NN, just stop lying.


  10. If they think their verging on homeless lifestyle is so great why are they so furious that people discuss it?


  11. There is no shame in being poor, unless of course you are capable of being more. And they are quite capable. What kills me is how Joe and Nicole proudly defend their right to make really, really bad decisions. Decisions that get their kids removed, decisions that force their children to live in absolute squalor, decisions that land them in court over and over again, and decisions that cost them their last child.

    There were a lot of things I wanted to do and a lot I didn’t want to do when my children were still living at home. But I missed out on a lot that was important to me, and did things I didn’t necessarily want to, so that my children could have the life they deserved.

    It’s called parenting, something Joe and Nicole know nothing about. They are simply two people who like to screw without precaution. They know nothing of true parenting; nothing of real sacrifice. When you bring children into this world, much of what a parent wants, or even how they feel, takes a back seat to what is right and in the best interest of their children. Or at least it is supposed to.

    I’ve had hard times. When I was very young but already having left my family home, I was homeless for a short while. I briefly lived without running water years ago, I have gone months without hot water as recently as last winter, I have been hungry and lived on can food from the dented can store (and very little of that), and there have been a couple of winters I have held up in my bedroom with a space heater because I fell on hard times and couldn’t afford to heat the whole house. But never, I repeat never, even as a single mom, did my children ever once go without a meal, a roof over their heads, hot and cold running water, a toilet that flushes, decent clean clothes and shoes to wear, and a real education. I worked more than one job, I took in laundry, I baby sat, cleaned peoples homes, did home care for the elderly, sold crafts, sold Avon; anything I could to insure my kids lived as well as possible. They attended school, had friends, they played sports, they went on field trips. I even managed a couple of vacations over the years.

    I don’t understand Joe and Nicole and I do not care what kind of mediocre lives they choose for themselves. But the shitty existence they are providing for their children makes me absolutely sick and at time furious. The fact that they try to candy coat it all into being something it all isn’t, and then want to fight with the world about their horrible and selfish decisions is just mind blowing. They are not living and growing, they are simply struggling to exist.

    They are the kind of people, as my granny used to say, that I wouldn’t piss on to put out, if they were on fire. I hope their children all grow up and leave home for far, far away and leave Joe and Nicole to live in misery, alone, with all of those gloriously selfish decisions they have made all these years. I hope they have to wallow in it, alone. They deserve that and nothing more.


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