“If I put bath tissue on the shopping list, will you know which kind to get?” My husband, Bernd, actually said that to me. Me. Just who does he thinks does all the shopping around here? The Shopping Fairy? Why wouldn’t I know what kind to get?
But that’s not what I don’t understand about bath tissue. Who the heck came up with that misnomer and why does it persist? Have you ever tried taking a bath with toilet paper? Of course not. You have way more sense than that. So why call it bath tissue? We’ve had toilet paper and toilet tissue for years. Suddenly it is no longer acceptable to mention the word “toilet?” Oy!
This could just be another example of the desire never to utter the word toilet. Why do people say they have to go to the bathroom when what they really mean is that they would like to use the toilet? We once lived in a condo that had a half “bath” downstairs. It consisted of a toilet and a sink. I could maybe bathe my foot in that sink, but for sure nothing else was going to fit. In my book, the Brits have the better answer to this dilemma. They call it a water closet. While not ideal (consider a clothes closet and then one for water?), at least it doesn’t mention bath. Doesn’t mention toilet either, but I’ll still give the Brits props for gritty realism in general.
And people say they have to use the bathroom when they are out in public and need to use a public restroom. I’ve been in a couple public toilets (well, you know what I mean, the building or room that houses the toilets!) that had a sofa or a couple of chairs in them so you could actually sit down and rest for a bit. But mostly, that’s not the case. Lord, I could go on about this forever. Maybe it’s my age or just general contrariness, but it seems like people don’t want to admit that what they really have to do is urinate and/or defecate. I ask you, what’s wrong with that?
Okay, so maybe I say “pee” when I mean urinate, but I won’t ask to use your bathroom. I’ll ask to use your toilet. If the room just so happens to also contain a bath tub or a shower, well I can’t help that. I won’t be using either of those. And I won’t look in your medicine cabinet either.
And Standing in for To
I hear this so much now that I worry it will never be remedied. I’ve heard it in commercials on television and I’ve heard it in movies and television shows. “I will try and see if I can come up with a good solution,” should really read “I will try to see if I can come up with a good solution.” And in reality, “I will see if I can come up with a good solution” is all you actually need. I have no good solution for this one. Although, I can sort of understand why someone would be inclined to add the “try” to the sentence. Saying it without might seem to be too much of a promise or a social contract to deliver. Apparently, there’s a bit of weaselly politician in all of us. And please don’t get on me about the word “see” in that final sentence in quotation marks. That one has just been around too long for me to get up much energy to argue about it.
These Ones or Those Ones
I love the American English language. Really, I do. I just don’t always love what some people do with it. I get as big a kick out of using interesting analogies and dialectical phrases as the next person, but how did this ever become so widespread and … dare I say it … acceptable?
“Which ones do you like best? These ones or those ones?” Argh! The word “ones” behind these and those is totally unnecessary. And for that matter, the word “ones” in the first sentence is also totally unnecessary. Consider: “Which do you like best? These? Or Those?” Simple, straight forward, uncluttered.
I’ve always marveled at how few words it takes to say something in English as opposed to, say, Spanish. It’s no wonder that Spanish speakers talk so fast. They have to just in order to keep up with the sheer volume of words necessary to get the point across. American English has impressed me over the years with its brevity and ability to come to a conclusion rapidly and succinctly (unlike me). Adding these superfluous words seems like sheer idiocy.
Alright, so I’ve used an inordinate number of “reallys” and other unnecessary words. Sometimes I use them to make my point more memorable or just (see, I did it again) emphasize my position. We all do that unless we are intolerably anal about the rules of writing. I’m not intolerably anal am I? Please say that I’m not.
Maybe I should have titled this “Things that Get my Panties all in a Bunch” instead. Oh! Aack! That’s a one sentence paragraph! Oh wait. No it’s not because I’ve added these ones.