Here’s the comment to which I’m responding:
I’m sorry you had a tough day/time period, but the headline of your post really got to me because i’ve been trying to deal with language use in my classroom (I’m a law student). I found this blog post when searching for stuff to show my classmates and thought you might be interested in reading it.
By the way, teaching kids to read is pretty darn awesome.
Zach — How do you know that I am not, in fact, lame? Welp, I’m not unable to move my legs, so you’ve got me there. I have felt the same way about using the word “crazy” before. The only problem is that there lacks a equally descriptive word in either case. Or, I should say, I lack an equally descriptive word. So, dear law student, I’d be happy to remove the word “lame” from my lexicon if you can supply me with an equally descriptive word that doesn’t offend anyone. Therein lies the rub. More appropriate would be for me to say, “I feel as though I’m suffering from dementia.” Yet, would that be putting those folks down? I guess I could say I’m pathetic. I guess that is a less-offensive term. But forgetting the conversation in which my mom asked if it would be ok for her boyfriend to stay over the break, and then remembering it just as she re-told me they would be staying with us (and don’t worry, Mom, it isn’t a problem at all, I just had told Ang you’d be staying at the hotel again because that hole in my brain told me so) probably doesn’t actually evoke pity in any of my readers.
As a person who loves words, of course, I’ve had to zip over to my online dictionary a few times in writing this. I am actually feeling annoyed that the first and second definitions of “lame” do indicate folks with leg and foot difficulties. Then the third one says, “weak; inadequate; unsatisfactory; clumsy.” Ugh. That is offensive. I am annoyed at a word. This is all very weak, inadequate and unsatisfactory.
I’m sure some of my readers will think you are over-sensitive and too PC. Other of my readers, like me, have probably been hurt by other peoples’ flip use of language. So thanks, I appreciate you pointing that out to me and to your students. I’m not sure I’ll be able to completely rid my mouth of the word. But when I do say it, I will feel guilty and kick myself for not saying weak, inadequate or unsatisfactory.
I’m also open to other suggestions for replacements for both lame and crazy. I say “crazy” way too often. Anyone? Give me good ones that won’t sound stilted or academic. No offense to law student Zach. 😉