Please clarify your language…

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.

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March 6, 2021

Has “passed away” instead of  “died” become passé? What does one say when “transitioning” has become too harsh for delicate ears?

April 1, 2021

@borage Exactly.

April 1, 2021

I will have you know that I am not a “namby-pamby denizen of California” although I do live there & I’m a native Californian.  I too had a proper education, and as my daughter said when she saw the bumper sticker “Eschew obfuscation”, “my mother know what that means.”  And I do.