Friday, January 28, 2011


Youngest Daughter asked me why I kept referring to "aldercritters." I told her it was historical: I lived through the days when we were introduced to the concept that words like "policeman" and "alderman" were sexist. Faced with that sort of lexical intrusion you can comply, keep to the traditional usage, or make fun. Anybody who knows me knows I'd pick door number 3. So, what to do with "alderman?" "Alder" sounds excessively botanical, and "alderthing" makes them sound like things instead of living creatures. "Aldercritter" makes it clear that we're talking about living breathing animals here, is gender-neutral, reasonably gentle, and carries the connotation of small rodents scampering around gnawing on the wiring.(*) Just what the doctor ordered.

To be fair, they do often deal with extremely hard and boring work. I suppose the occasional resolution to ban the use of nuclear weapons within the city limits or some such is a way of relaxing. At least I hope that's what those things are. Please? If not I'll have to come up with another word...

(*)Or eating through the veggie garden

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