Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Indulge Me, If You Will

I beg your indulgence, for I have a great need to rant just a little.

"Two posts in two days? Will miracles never cease?" I hear you say, to which I reply, most respectfully, "Shut up."

Now I don't want you to think that I spent the entire summer lying about, eating bonbons, crying in the bathtub and wondering if I should buy the regular or the lemony-fresh bleach for my after-dinner beverage.

Oh no, amidst the weeping and the wailing and the wallowing in the deepest wells of angst, there was much reading done; escape and solace was attained through frequent pillaging of the local liberry.

Mr. Assmuppet says I have to pay a nickel to the liberry every time I call it that instead of the library and he also says he's authorized to collect on their behalf, but I checked with them and they didn't seem to know anything about it so I think he might be a great big liar, liar, pants on fire and he also owes me six dollars. But I digress.

I have previously stated quite clearly my opinion of those who deface books and I had much occasion to vent my ire lo, these past many moons, however there is one word that really gets right up my noze and although I never saw it "corrected" in any of the books I read I think that quite likely I would have let such a transgression pass. In fact I may have rejoiced in it.

That word is "workaholic", and I would urge you to cross it out or even tear the whole damned page out of the book should you run across it at any point. Possibly going and setting fire to the author's home would be an overreaction but let me tell you, I wouldn't be the one turning you in for it.

English is a delightful, flexible and ever-changing language (and my flagrant use of both "liberry" and "noze" without a smidgen of guilt will give you a hint how seriously I take the "purity" of the language). It is both a joy and a source of endless frustration and amusement when trying to explain to a non-native English speaker the whys and wherefores of all the rules and why there are often more exceptions to the rule than words covered under the rule itself, but there are certain patterns, ways in which words are invented (or "unvented" as the late lamented EZ would say, although in reference to knitting rather than to words), and "workaholic" Just. Won't. Do.

There are some who know far more about this sort of thing than I do (not difficult really, as I am relatively uneducated and seem to be, as usual, blowing hot air) and I welcome input (although not corrections as we all know this isn't a democracy) but it would seem to me that the word from which that excrescence sprung is "alcoholic". Now, an alcoholic is someone who is addicted to alcohol -- that's a given, yes? So ... what exactly is a so-called workaholic addicted to?


There's no such word as far as I know (although when I did sales admin. I must say that some of the salesmen were tanked more often than not and very often while working, and so for that particular class of gentleman -- and I use "class" very loosely -- an exception may be made. But for none other.) (Or should that be "no other"? See? I don't have a clue what I'm talking about, really. My grammar and punctuation suck too, and I don't actually care all that much. And I start sentences with "and" and use far too many parentheses and seem to think italics are a design feature. Again, shut up.)

Alcoholism is a serious disease. It ruins lives, families, health, relationships, businesses and is responsible for unpleasant stains on countless carpets.

Workaholism is ... not a word.

You see the difference? On the one hand, a serious disease; on the other, a stupid non-word. Disease; stupid non-word. It's simple, really.

Don't use it again. I'll be watching you.

And to quote the annoying man who called me up this afternoon to discuss the $85 I most assuredly do not owe to his company, "govern yourselves accordingly".

(PS, I told you I was back)

YES! I've always detested that... not a word.
I'm so glad you're back.
Workic just doesn't have the same ring. And really, I'd postulate that working is the source of many of the worlds woes too, and that we should all practice temperance where it is involved. And whaddya mean, I can't start sentences with and?
OK, no workaholic or workaholism. Fair enough. (Stoopit spellcheck, it actually RECOGNIZES) the first though not the second.)

But - and I speak as one who frequently starts sentences with "and" or "but" and also uses italics as a design feature - "workahol"? THAT has possibilities. Workahol. Especially if its lemony-fresh.
Ahhhh... Now *this* is the Rabbitch we know and love ;) (Thanks for the shout-out btw, as if I know anything about anything!) So, is the -aholic then like the -kini from bikini that is now used in words like tankini? It's funny how people can find morphemes wherever they look and then take them and run, no? (Or maybe that's just the kind of thing that I find funny...)
Darling Rabbitch, I thought I was the only one, the sole voice crying and lamenting the use of such rubbish as "workaholic" and worse yet "shopaholic" and "chocaholic", and for the very reasons you mention. At least there's a pair of us.
And I am so very happy to see you back.
What does Mr. Assmuppet say if you sing Pick-a-little Talk-a-little from "The Music Man"'s even SPELLED Liberry in the score! My 10 yr old pompously corrected me when I was singing one we had a whole conversation about why the mispronunciation was done (and that Marian didn't do it) he gleefully mispronounces it, too ;-)
I totally agree with your hatred of the word "workaholic"!!! What is wrong with "Type A personality"?
hi, rabbitch, and welcome back from the darker reaches of the rabbit hole.

while i agree w/you totally on the seriousness of alcoholism (having lost several relatives to it), i demur on "workaholic," etc., on two grounds.

the easier one is that, by any name, addiction to work also "ruins lives, families, health, relationships," though it rarely leaves unpleasant stains on the carpet.

the other is that one of the strengths of the mother tongue of our countries' shared-but-sometimes-different language is that it makes new words that a majority of people can understand quickly just by mash-ups of words or parts of words that we already know.

if you know what a sequel is, for instance, you probably understood "prequel" the first time you heard it. (note that i don't say it's a great word, just an easily understood one.)

parts of certain words, though not classical suffixes or prefixes, gain those functions through people's efforts to communicate -- sometimes seriously, sometimes jokingly/sarcastically -- ideas by associating them with already-familiar ones.

"aholic" is just such a fragment. "chocoholic" and "sexaholic" are easily recognized as meaning someone "addicted" to chocolate or sex. yup -- it trivializes a serious disease, but it also is useful in conveying meaning in everyday conversations.

two more such fragments come easily to mind:
"-gate" for scandals and "athon" for activities that seem to go on for a hellacious long time.

perhaps if this is taken to extremes, someday the current u.s./world financial crisis and the outright thievery and malfeasance behind it will be known as "meltdowngateathon" (lol)

so even though i make my living upholding linguistic standards at a publication, i also see utility in allowing many neologisms, even when i find them woefully exaggerated.

and again, i'm glad that you're back.
I have missed you soooo much! Don't you wish you could have dinner with Lynne Truss (author of "Eats, Shoots, and Leaves" and "Talk to the Hand"?) And "govern yourselves accordingly"!! Now *that* would make a great epitaph!
So my mom traded in being an alcoholic for being a workic then? She was still distant, but at leest I could understand what she was going on about.
See, I knoze inglish reel well, as well!!! Go ahead just try and make grammatical cents of this bs i laid down!
Itz reel gud two has u bak rabbitch!!!
And we welcome you.

It's so GREAT to have you back! I'd never realized that about the word. You're absolutely right. As usual.

Oh, and as for knowing grammar and how to write, I may have more degrees than you, but you are most definetely a better writer and you know many more rules of grammar. And [note the start of a sentence with "And"), ironically, if you were one of those with more degrees under your belt (or out of your bank account, as the case may be), you would surely be one of those proclaiming that merely having a degree of any type doesn't necessarily mean intelligence or even competence. (Lest we forget that moron who calls himself the Prez of the US has two "prestigious" degrees, and we all know he didn't earn them one bit. Although arguably he had more intelligence back then because he had fewer years of intense drug use up his nose.

Welcome Back!

Ever watch the Simpsons? We quote them around here all the time. One of our favorite quotes: "It's true. I'm a Rageaholic...I just can't live without rageahol."
Kudos. You are right, absolutely. And the other "-oholic" words leave me cold as well. Language IS flexible, changing, growing - but there ARE problems. (Don't get me started on "impact" which is NOT A VERB) {shudder}. I am the Daughter of a Newspaperman, and if I have nothing else it's a love for the language. I can also proofread astonishingly well, which - with $5.95 will get me some ridiculous beverage at an inflated coffee shop.....Thank you for your timely words AND happily-anticipated return.
That reminds me of The Onion article "I'm Like A Chocoholic, But For Booze"
Yeah, I don't do workahol, though I do tend to be a Type A personality.

Glad you're back sweetie, keep it up and you may shame me into into catching up with my blog which is growing mold while I run around in sixty directions howling like a wolverine. Or is that a wombat?

Anyway, chlorine poisoning is neither chic nor colourful enough for you, even if it's lemon scented. The one reassuring thing about life is that it's a terminal condition, if you keep going long enough, you WILL die of it eventually. So you might as well be patient and get stuff done for another few decades.
I like liberries. Fewer calories and much more satisfying.
I guess my drugs of choice for most of my life have been bookahol and fiber. Ahol.

Great, now I shall go the whole day adding "ahol" to things. And it looks perilously close to "A-hole", too!

Welcome back, eh.
Would that have mean you have surfaced from being a glad you came up for air we all missed you
Thanks, I needed to read a good rant.
Meanwhile, I shall be telling everyone within hearing distance (and a few who are not) to govern themselves accordingly.

Mwah. :-)
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