Current Essays

Run your cursor gently over Rowie's ear to 'ear the essay.

Debride the Dastard On:2005-11-10 05:13:06

It's got really bad, and I'm appalled.
No one cares about words any more apart from me and (presumably) those money-grubbing swine over at the Oxford English Dictionary (and they, the dastards, expect you to pay a whopping $500 a year1 for the privilege); or even if they do care just a bit no one seems to want to be bothered to look up new-to-them words in their $500 dollar a year dictionary--and at the OED's rip-offy gouging price who can blame them, nor even, sad to say, can they be bothered to use something free and online like Bartleby or Wikipedia.

Anyway it's got, as I say, so bad and we are now all so slappity-dashing with our vocab, that I was hardly even amazed let alone astounded to see the other day in (of all places) my favourite science magazine New Scientist a correction of their misuse in an earlier edition of 'epicentre': they had actually printed that the recent quake's "epicentre was 10 kilometers below the surface", presumably under the influence of a deep hatred for all those idiots who never bothered to find out that 'epicentre' means nothing other than 'the point on the surface immediately above a subterranean event'. NS was of course being hypercorrect, a bit like the Cockney bloke who normally would say "only 'alf" droppin' their aitches like, and then says "Honely Half" with han hextra haitch when trying to be posh. But at least NS had the decency to admit their fault.

But what (I seem to hear you ask) is the honourable thing to do when faced with the shock of the verbal new?
Well, under the auspices of Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby, let me give you my experience of the other day (and that of course is a different other day from the New Scientist hypocorrection other day). The other day I was looking at the label on a bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide, H2O2, when I noticed that it was not only an antiseptic but also claimed to be a 'debriding agent'.

Now I must admit, to the detriment I'm sure of my omniscience cred, that debride was not a term I had hitherto met. My first thought was that it MUST refer to what young Lochinvar did to the Netherbys in dear old Walt's2 poem.
You know how it goes:
OH! young Lochinvar is come out of the west,
Through all the wide Border his steed was the best;
And save his good broadsword he weapons had none.
He rode all unarmed and he rode all alone.
So faithful in love and so dauntless in war, 5
There never was knight like the young Lochinvoer-v-var ... Lochinvar
but in spite of all of he whom we'll now hypocoristically call the YLv's faith and dauntlessness and good steed buying practices he muffed it, and his arrival was a bit later than that of his rival who was, therefore, there first:
The bride had consented, the gallant came late: 10
For a laggard in love and a dastard in war
Was to wed the fair Ellen of the brave YLv--voer-var....YLvee
not of course that there'd be much of a poem if he'd been early. And while we're at it; 'dastard' is a word you might not be familiar with so since I'm sure you won't fork out $500 dollars to the OED or even bother to look it up for free, let me reassure you that it is probably an Old-Norse-origined word that, starting off meaning 'exhausted' ended up meaning 'a sneaky coward' (probably because no one bothered look it up back then either) before finally falling into disuse.
Anyway the YLv grabs the girl and runs for it and
There was racing and chasing on Cannobie Lee, 45
But the lost bride of Netherby ne'er did they see.
So you see: they were most definitely debrided!

But not being you I did look it up:
And I found:
Debride: To remove dead, contaminated or adherent tissue or foreign material esp from a wound. ... This may be done by enzymatic debridement (as with proteolytic enzymes), mechanical nonselective debridement (as in a whirlpool), or sharp debridement (by surgery) or even something disgusting to do with maggots.
Yeuuuugh!!! And now I wish I hadn't looked it up either. And NOW,
I understand why you don't. Were't we all so much better off with the YLv!

Cheerio for now from,
Plano's answer to the YLv, and boy you should see my steed, the Old RHB!


1  Oxford English Dictionary
"... $500 a year for the privilege" Now, so you can really see what absolute bastards the dastards are, check out their subscriptions and see how they have reduced their rates to $300 (call me a liar for five bucks: go on!) since last I checked, just to spite me. And anyway that's still a hell of a lot to pay!!

2 Lochinvoer-v-var can be found here.

<-- Go Back

Home | Essays | Notes | Gallery | Miscellany | Contact

ÐISCLAIMER - I claim ðis!

All contents including writing, cartooning, music, and photography unless otherwise specified are
copyright © 1965-2023 and Richard Howland-Bolton. All Rights Reserved.
All logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.
Web work* by
*as distinct from Wetwork