Dave Duncan

"Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway"

Words for Crises That Aren’t Crises: A Primer

I’m sure we’re all well aware of the two favourite pastimes of the media/news community; making a bigger deal about something than it really is and coming up for fancy-pants names for those big deals they’ve just created. Well, when oil first started hitting record prices this spring and news reporters made it sound like entire provinces and states would shut down, I started hearing a word, and this word greatly upset me. Now that it’s summer, this word is EVERYWHERE and I’m seriously going to lose it. I’ve even started hearing it in casual conversation around the office.

I mean, what is a “stay-cation” anyways? How is it any different than what we used to call a “vacation”? The idea behind the word is that due to high transit costs, many people are choosing to stay at (or close to) home for their summer vacations, and if you’re doing so, you’re enjoying a stay-cation. What?

Merriam Webster defines a vacation as:

1: a respite or a time of respite from something : intermission
2 a
: a scheduled period during which activity (as of a court or school) is suspended b: a period of exemption from work granted to an employee
3: a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation <had a restful vacation at the beach>
: an act or an instance of vacating

Of those definitions, only one (3) has anything to do with going away, and even that is transitive (that is, it requires a clause to let someone know that the subject was actually away). If anything, we should have had the word “away-cation” all along so that people would know you packed up and went somewhere rather than staying home and resodding your lawn.

Seriously, who has a conversation like this with co-workers:

“I’m going on vacation next week”
“Oh yeah? Where are you going?”
“Get this… nowhere. I’m just going to stay home.”
“Then why did you say you were going on vacation? Why didn’t you just stay you were off work and staying at home. I hate you and I’m going to kill you with my bare hands.”
“You’re right. I totally deserve it. Here, I’ll just lie here. Make sure I suffer for this transgression.”

Thankfully, that conversation will never happen again now that we have a word for something that doesn’t even require its own word. Also thankfully, we can look forward to hearing this word on the news for the next 3 months or so and then for the rest of our lives. Thank you media.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off on staycation and I have to go update my staycaylog with all my staycactivities. Inventing words is fun… so much fun, it’s funventive!

PS: Sorry this rant is more sarcastic than usual. I resprained my bum ankle last night playing soccer and it’s put me in a bit of a ‘mood’. I’m sure I’ll be back to normal once the swelling goes down and the drugs kick in. We’ll just ride this storm out together.

1 comment

1 Comment so far

  1. Rob D July 31st, 2008 12:08 am

    Dave, why the apology. I’m sure there are many that would agree with you. If all it takes a bum ankle to get you on a crazy rant then you may be seeing more of me and my little friend, mr baseball bat.
    Sorry if my support came off as a threat. I guess I’m just not good at that whole “being supportive” thing. I’ll leave you be now.

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