If people who love technology are called techies and people who love food are called foodies, then people who enjoy words must be wordies. I’m a wordie.
Words are not only intriguing but revealing. Words and phrases are to language what bread crumbs were to Hansel and Gretel. They say something about where we’ve been and where we’re headed.
A new phrase getting a lot of traffic these days is “low-information voter.” I like it. But I always wonder exactly who they are and whether they know who they are. This could be a case of everybody thinking it is everybody else.
Artisanal is a trendy word right now, too. It means anything made by hand using a traditional method.
Various cheeses and wines are touted as artisanal. Artisanal sounds earthy, warm and inviting. Artisanal bread can elicit audible gasps. It can be plain old white bread, but if it has an artisanal label, you can expect foodies to pay a couple bucks more.
An awkward phrase gaining momentum is “Shop this outfit.” It used to be people would shop the stores or shop the mall, but now we shop the outfit. It hints of aggressive tactics and reckless credit card use.
Another newbie that is rapidly becoming engrained is BOGO. It means buy one, get one (free). There’s something about it that prevents instant processing. Whenever I see BOGO on a reader board, my first thought is that someone misspelled POGO.
The phrase “have a good day” is long gone (thankfully), having been replaced by “have a good one.” An even newer greeting, or farewell rather, is, “Be well.” Clerks at a particular chain drugstore routinely say it.
The first time I was told to be well, it seemed sincere and thoughtful. Two hundred times later, it approached grating. I keep hearing “be well” because I keep going to the drugstore to pick up medications for family members who haven’t been well. To keep telling me to be well is nearly a taunt.
“You be well! If we were well, we couldn’t keep coming to the pharmacy.”
The standout newcomer to our ever-changing lexicon, bar none, is “health sinner.” A health sinner is someone who smokes, is obese or overweight, or eats any sort of food the food police have condemned. Health sinners are about to be flogged in the public square as the new health care plan takes hold.
Clearly, the health righteous are eager and willing to berate the health sinners. All of which leads me to ask the following: If you’re not certain such labels are helpful, does that make you a health agnostic? We’ll see.
In the meantime, be well.
Lori Borgman is an Indianapolis columnist.