I received a message today from an acquaintance of many years informing me that her father was, “…in hospice, transitioning.”
Knowing the man to be nearly 90 and in failing health, I thought this a rather odd moment to contemplate a sex-change, and advised her that hospice wouldn’t be the optimal facility for such a procedure. Of course, she was using some Orwellian Newspeak to try to say he was dying, which I found rather vague and misleading, not to mention hilarious.
Of the three languages in which I am fairly proficient, English has the greatest breadth and depth of nuance, clarity and specificity that one could desire. Why, then, choose words of ambiguity, especially when dealing with such a common and straightforward situation?
Would any of these sentences make sense?
- I feel as if I will transition if I eat another morsel.
- That potted palm is transitioning from lack of water.
- The car won’t start – I believe the battery has transitioned.
I would expect some ridiculous linguistic gymnastics from a liberal arts college professor or namby-pamby denizen of California, but this woman is my age and has a proper education. There’s no shame in dying. Some of the most respectable people have been known to do it, on occasion. I know there are some live in a world where the retarded have become special, the crippled differently-abled, and the failures are deferred achievers, but I do not. Spades are spades here.