I Can't Even...
By Sara "Zarrine" Jessop
I've noticed something lately. Perhaps it's been happening for a long time and I had not yet observed it as I don't tend to listen to your useless prattling. As you have all begun to take my advice I have found that opening my ears to you has become far less painful than in the past. However you all have such a strange way of speaking and it must be contagious because sometimes I even catch myself spouting the same ridiculous verbiage.
I suppose we could call most of these words “slang”. Words that we have made up in place of other, more proper words. Even the world itself sounds so distasteful. Slang. Seriously, dear reader, say it a few times. Doesn't it begin to sound stranger and stranger? We must rid our vocabulary of such vulgar displays of nonsense. I have compiled a list of words and phrases which are either slang, used entirely incorrectly, or just straight up utter rubbish that are constantly being bandied about. Obviously there are more than the few listed, but my editor is a real stickler for his time schedule, so you'll just have to settle for the ones that annoy me the most.
Cars: What even are those, you ask? Apparently they are some advanced form of transportation. Like a carriage, but without the need for those pesky (and smelly) horses. A horseless carriage, if you will, which is the appropriate terminology. They move quite quickly, which is how we manage to get to events in far off lands and then back home again all in one day. But why do we insist on calling it a “car”? It's such a harsh and unimaginative word. If we are making up words they ought to be fantastically extravagant like 'auto carriage' or 'magimobile'.
The odd names you use for your jobs: Why can't you just be honest. I don't go around telling people that I am a masseuse do I? I mean, I do massage things, but I am pretty sure that would still make me a liar. And the way you elaborate upon the lie! It's like you actually believe that you really work in these boring, made up professions when your actual occupations are so much more interesting. Who wants to hear you talk about your imaginary job where you crunch numbers or serve tacos when they could instead hear about your adventures as a member of your national militia? Math versus bloody battles to the death? Only losers would chose math. So you might want to keep that in your back pocket because the Realms is full of those. But the people actually worth your time to talk to want to hear about your real accomplishments in the real Realms. I talk about mine all the time. “But Zarine, aren't you ashamed of what you do?” Goodness no! Who would be ashamed of being a Doctor?
Calling out people's character: So there is a phrase that I apparently don't quite understand. “Staying in character.” I always assumed that it was some kind of back handed attack on someone's actual character. Like when you do something that's expected of your “type.” If I were to say, be a complete bitch to someone, and someone said “stay in character”, I would think they were saying “keep being a bitch, bitch.” Much like telling someone to “stay classy.” it's not really a compliment. But whenever I get uppity with someone for saying such a thing, I get “that's not what that implys.” Well, by all means, enlighten me. What the bloody hell does it portend? No one seems to know because instead of explaining it to me when I ask they roll their eyes harder than I do when someone else wins best dressed. Perhaps it's an inside joke. If so, I don't wish to be part of whatever clique came up with it. Actually, I do, because it's awesomely snarky, but only if they really mean what I still think it means.
Television, movies, and “Netflix”: I assume all of these things are similar, as they are often interchanged casually in conversation. There are thousands if not millions of different sub genres of the base topic. They reference stories being told with some sort of illusion magic, like the living embodiment of books. We all talk about them, but I've yet to have ever see any of them nor spoken to anyone who has. So what are they and how do we know about them? Perhaps they are simply shared vivid dreams. Or perhaps more powerful magics are involved. Whatever it is, there is always someone, or a group of someones, who claim that talk of these things “breaks their immersion”, whatever that means.
Which brings me to the last one I have time for, breaking immersion: Another curious phrase that seems to have some hidden meaning. To get to the bottom of this we first have to look at what immersion is. My dear friend Miriam tells me that it is a state of being deeply engaged or involved; absorption. Usually this phrase is uttered after other strange words, so perhaps it is simply that even the simplest of plebs finds the massacre of the common tongue to be distracting from whatever task they were performing. Yet it seems to be deeper than that. It seems to bother people on a purely physiological level. Now, I am not that type of doctor, but I know that if something preventable is bothering someone the easiest treatment is to stop doing the thing! These cockamamie expressions are clearly unhinging some of our ranks. So perhaps we should all be a bit more considerate and use proper dialect. Being more aware of our parlance is the very least we can do to help alleviate breaks in others immersion in whatever was they were heretofore immersed in.
Too long? Did not read?
Don't be a twit.
See you next Tuesday.
Zarine is the proprietor and Madam at Alchimia Lupanar, a magic marshal approved practitioner of medicine, an award winning author, and has 36 years of experience in giving her unsolicited opinion.