It’s getting increasingly difficult not to insult people. Not because I was born in a cave and raised without social graces by a pair of moody badgers or anything, but because people are getting increasingly insultable. It would be wrong (and probably insulting) to say that folk have become too precious, or that we are overpopulated by princesses, or even that there’s been a gradual thinning of the skin ever since people began staying indoors for fear of death-rays from that hole in the ozone layer thingy. It’s logical to blame the internet for making it too easy to casually and accidentally insult billions of people — once upon a time you had to insult them to their face, ring them on the telling-bone, or send them a letter — but just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Unwieldy double-negatives aside, the fact is that the www has weaponised words, and because I don’t want a virtual-mob storming the offices of WordPress to demand my blog’s annihilation, I am going to try very hard from now on not to offend anyone.
So many offendees to pick from — let’s start with the ‘agenda-fluid’ crowd. I choose them out of laziness, I supposed, because I’m already a bit fluid myself so this should be relatively easy. For example I took the day off work today — I’m on top of things, had no meetings scheduled, so owing 9.5 hours actually becomes a strategic move on my part because I know I’ll invariably run up some unpaid overtime before the end of my roster. Rather than trying to claw my dues back from The Man, this way I can make sure I end up even! Call me wily as a fox, but that’s advanced-agenda-fluidity at work, right there. Poster-child for the ‘AF’ crowd Miley Cyrus could take lessons from me, just quietly. Look at the poor thing. They’ve got her dancing to someone else’s tune — time to take control of the agenda, Miley! Or, you know, like, let go of it completely, whatever — totally up to you. That’s the beauty of fluidity, you can relinquish responsibility/blame for your life at the drop of a hat.
The next bunch of folk I don’t want to offend are the trans-spenders. Now, I like shopping as much as the next bloke (…) but you can’t just call somebody ‘thrifty’ anymore, and ‘bargain hunter’ almost invites a public slap-down. I saw a girl with a clutch of designer bags, and ‘oniomaniac’ sprang to mind, but for fear there may have been a designer machete (Burberry, 2016 Spring Catalogue, p7) in one of those bags, I kept it to myself. Seems even the label-conscious don’t like to be labelled. And how am I supposed to magically guess a trans-spender-diverse person’s preferred pronoun? What if the next time I meet them they’re not using it anymore? How do you even converse with someone who will bite your throat out if you hint at past spending, ask if they’ve changed their spending habits, or imply that they even have a choice how they spend!? It’s too damn hard. Trans-spenders are scary, so I will assume nothing, and give them wide berth until they’ve made up their own minds what they are.
Another group I’m wary of disaffecting are the Muesli’ms, but here’s where I have to stand my ground. I’m no fan of granola but my wife has a bowl every morning. Keeps her regular. What she doesn’t do is try to force her breakfast down everybody else’s throat. Now, for some it may well be the one true cereal, but us toast-eating kafirs can peacefully co-exist in their world, surely. Maybe its all the rapeseed oil that makes male muesli’ms so pushy, but if anybody with a suntan and a beard turns up at my door telling me cornflakes are not permitted, and that my wife has to cover up the goods, then I will politely show him off the property. And no, she is not for sale. So long as there are more people spreading peanut-butter on toast than there are people muttering prayers over mouthfuls of mixed grains, then it should be them taking care not to offend me, and not the other way around.