02:54:27 am on
Tuesday 16 Jul 2024

Entering the Lexicon
David Simmonds

After a significant and prolonged event, such as the 2020 pandemic, there are going to be words and phrases that enter our lexicon on a semi-permanent basis. Let’s look at the early candidates.

“Covid belly” denotes the acquisition of a spare tire from nine months of enforced idleness and boredom. The individual in question is not assigned personal responsibility for an extended period.

“Covid coiffure” is a haircut inflicted by one family member on another. Recriminations are not allowed, with respect to this task. No matter how it appears, the label sticks.

“Gilliganitis” is the result of having streamed every single episode of a lowbrow television series.

“Attenboroboro” is the result of having streamed every single episode of a highbrow television series.

“Flattening the curve” occurs when you need an excuse for not attending a function you didn’t really want to go to in the first place. As in “I’ve decided to stay home tonight to help flatten the curve.”

“Having your back” means paying for something with borrowed money that you aren’t sure you’re ever going to be able to repay.

The “Two metre” rule is a way to discourage kissy, huggy people from being kissy and huggy. As in “we’re a two metre household.”

“Social bubble” is a group the size and composition of which bears no relation to real family life and is honoured more in the breach rather than the observance.

“Super spreader” is a person who violates the rules of public etiquette and convinces multitudes that it is all right to do so. A super spreader can usually be found at the top of an organizational chart.

A “pandemic” is an event of epic proportions. As in “that heavy metal concert was just pandemic.” Also “it takes a pandemic,” denotes the circumstances under which two or more political parties will co-operate, briefly.

“Work from home wear” refers to your jammies. 

“Social distancing” is justification for being without a Friday night date. As in “I was practising social distancing the other night.”

“Getting tested” is relying too heavily on a non-predictive event. As in “I got tested and I’m not dead; therefore, I’ll live forever.”

To “Wait for the second wave” is to allow yourself the luxury of thinking a problem is behind you, when it just presents itself afresh, only bigger than before. 

Doing something “virtually” means not doing it the best way possible, but the best way in the circumstances.

To “Theresa Tam” something is to present gloomy news in bright clothing to leaven the message. As in “I really Theresa Tammed it in my presentation at the Actuarial Society meeting about COVID-19 mortality rates. I wore that flowery shirt I bought in Hawaii and sandals.”

To “Fauci” something is to speak truth to power, all the while wearing an Alfred E Neuman smile. 

To “Do a Bonnie Henry job” is to manage an emergency calmly, clearly, confidently and compassionately.

To “Doug Ford” something is to wait until the evidence is all there to justify intervention, by which time the intervention will be next to useless.

“Justinising” is reading from prepared talking points and never answering a direct question, but still having people follow you.

To “Donald Trump” something is to show an abject failure to lead in a situation that tries out for leadership

These candidate words and phrases will only make it into the lexicon if we use them often. Then again, maybe we’d be better off purging all of them; it might help us forget 2020 faster.

Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose, not infrequently laced with savage humour. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Pete Hamill and Mike Barnacle; the late Jimmy Breslin and Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington, Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.

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