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COLUMN: As this long year comes to an end, good riddance to these words and phrases, too

We used a lot of new words and phrases in 2020, but as Wendy suggests in this week's 'Everything King', some should go away now!
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One of my favourite things about the end of a year has always been all the lists that come out.

It helps me remember what happened in the past 12 months.

For instance — top 10 movies, most popular baby names, even the sad list of the celebrities who left us.

Every year, Lake Superior State University in Detroit comes out with its annual list of words or phrases we should retire with the coming of a new year. They suggest “at the end of the day," “circle back to it” and “cancel culture.” All good choices.

This time around, I think we all likely have a very similar list of words or sayings we could live without hearing ever again.

While I may not care for some of these, I assume they will be with us for a long time to come. I am sick to death of them, though.

1. Zoom meetings. While useful, everyone looks horrible and heads are cut off. Some people are too close, some too far away, some muted, some too loud, some with too much background sound. People are often not wearing pants. It is scary. All the signing in with the proper code gives me a headache. Can’t we just go back to email?

2. Social distancing. Again, it was the right thing to do. I just don’t personally like it. I am a hugger, a hand holder and a kisser (if they let me get that close), so all this lack of touch is very unappealing.

3. Remote learning. I never heard that term before this year. It sounds like someone made it up. It also sounds like it was both harder and more tedious for both teacher, parent and student.

4. Karen. The name that became synonymous with entitled, bossy, opinionated people, as in “Stop being such a Karen.” On behalf of all the nice Karens, pick another name. I think Karen will not make the list of top baby names for a few years to come. However, it did give Nancy a break!

5. Quid pro quo. Heard way too much of that one during the Trump impeachment hearings. I would revert to the older saying with the same meaning, which is “tit for tat."

6. I would respectfully ask Ontario Premier Doug Ford to stop peppering his speeches with “my friends.” I know he is trying to be all folksy and conversational, but honestly, I do not think you are my friend.

7. One word I wish I had never heard is CERB, the acronym for COVID Emergency Relief Benefit. I thought I liked the sound of it when it was first rolled out by the federal government. Now that thousands of Canadians may be forced to pay it back, it sounds less like a relief or a benefit. Kick CERB to the curb!

8. Panic buying. Whatever that was all about, it was very unseemly. Shoppers rushing to stock up on toilet paper, disinfectant wipes and sanitizer. It showed us the worst of humanity, that I-will-get-it-before-anyone-else-can mentality. It was neither necessary nor the right thing to do. Stop it!

9. Forced to stay home in lockdown. How about “had the privilege of staying safe at home.” I didn’t find a downside to being able to work from home. If your home is your refuge, there was no 'forced' about it. It was a blessing, not a curse.

10. Essential was a word I had never heard used so often. It isn’t a bad word at all, but the way it became used in 2020 made me fully realize the true meaning. An “essential” worker has turned out to be very different from what I used to think. While police officers, firefighters and doctors always came to mind, essential workers became many others who often got overlooked, like grocery store or any retail worker, garbage collectors, letter carriers, delivery people, teachers, reporters, chefs, parents... Truly everyone became essential. Everyone is essential.

I would also add 'keyboard warrios' to my personal list. The folks who simply must have an opinion (usually differing from mine) and share it on my social media. How about keep it to yourself or spout it on your own page?

Every single year it would be nice to retire the words 'hate' and 'injustice'.

We’ve had way too much ugly in 2020. Let’s speak beautiful words to each other in 2021.

Love, hope, health and togetherness!

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About the Author: Wendy King

Wendy King writes about all kinds of things from nutrition to the job search from cats to clowns — anything and everything — from the ridiculous to the sublime. Watch for Wendy's column weekly.
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