Monday 31 October 2011

The danger of euphemism (as it were...)

A close shave was had this morning.

The rectory rabbits (domesticated rather than wild) have reached a stage in their physiological development where they are a little problematic to each other. They are both male, one rather passive, the other much more active. And the active one has matured physically to the point where he is behaving inappropriately towards his passive companion. This is causing much stress and anxiety to the passive one. So the vets were called this morning. The above story explained (maturity, aggression, unwanted attention etc. all mentioned). So I requested that the rabbits, being old enough, were ready to be 'done.' (I'm pretty sure that's what I said)

Those two preceding paragraphs can be de-euphemised to: the male rabbits are now sexually mature and one is try to have sex with the other. They both need to be castrated.

To my surprise they said they could see them a little later that morning. I said, 'I assume I just drop them off and leave them with you while you do it?' Reply: Pause. 'You could do that if you wanted.'

The rabbits were duly caught, caged up and taken down.

For their appointment for euthanasia.

Fortunately, this error in translating euphemism came to light pretty quickly, a proper appointment for a whole day, a couple of days hence was made, and the whole episode was turned from a potential disaster to what we actually wanted.

The moral of the story - just ask for what you want, rather than tiptoing around the perceived euphemistic sensitivities of whoever you are dealing with.

But that could become rather uncomfortable in church life...

'Nice sermon, Rector,' becomes, 'That wasn't as boring as I thought it would be.'

'The beautiful sense of the numinous,' becomes, 'What a cold, old, damp building.'

and the list goes on...


  1. Go for it. Euphemism frequently comes back to bite you. Trust me ...

  2. Should add that this had me weeping with mirth ...