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Friday, October 28, 2011

Courtesy and The Gobsmack.

I wrote before about the misnomer "courtesy call," which is to say an annoying  phone call, usually made to you in your own home, where some stranger asks you for something. I think Corporate America is most responsible for pimping out the word "courtesy." Wal-Mart doesn't have inter-store phone lines or intercoms, but instead has "courtesy phones." Meijer's doesn't provide customer service stations, but refers you to the
"courtesy desk." Those pull-down walls you change your baby's diaper's on are called, if memory serves, "courtesy tables." I don't know if those are the exact particulars, but you get the gist. The wise, often- cited (in this blog ) word observer once heard heard heard Wal-Mart management send maintenance over to the grocery section to clean up a "courtesy spill."  I've seen some patrol cars with the motto "courtesy and service." In an increasingly   irony proof world full of misnomers, Orwellianisms, and "oxymorons," it won't be long before police brutality victims have to file lawsuits against "courtesy officers." How much footage "peace officers" beating the incapacitated have you seen?


Onto less ominous issues: the word "gobsmacked." This word makes me think of getting spat on or have something sticky thrown on to me. The "Free Dictionary" says the word means "to be utterly astounded." It apparently has nothing to with slime or really good heroin.

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