In my defence… Pah. Forget that. There is no defence. Senility is what senility does. I think Forrest Gump’s cousin Luther said that. Or maybe Albert Einstein, if one believes everything one reads on Facebook. Fortunately I spotted my mistake before having to wonder why I couldn’t get my pants done up.
Although the word “underpants” may be plural, it is supposed to refer to a single garment. Gotta love English!
However this long-established convention of having pluralised singular garments seems to be becoming lost on some in our community. Indeed it could be under threat.
Walking past a retail clothing store on Lambton Quay just the other day, a professionally-applied window sign informed me that that shop stocked “my jean”. I wish I had taken a photo for those of you who think I’m making it up.
What’s next? Pant? Trouser? Panty? Knicker?
I hope that this nonsense doesn’t catch on. But given the Facebook accelerated inanity of language (like my jean) and also the Americanisation generally of New Zealand English, I’m not holding my breath, not my breathe. Yes, there is a difference.
It’s not just Facebook that wants us all to speak with American accents and laugh at their bleeped-out puritan humour. Microsoft too, that software company famous for doing absolutely no user testing before releasing software “upgrades”, has fundamentally changed “New Zealand English” in its 2013 version of Word. Our “ise” has now become “ize”, and centre and theatre have become extinct. A bunch of New Zealand place names that previous versions of Word knew about have also disappeared.
Just because Americans have Moms and asses doesn’t mean that we have to too. The American ass annoys me on a number of levels. But it can’t hold a candle to the Great New Zealand Arse, so eloquently articulated by Craggy Island’s Father Jack Hackett. The Arse can’t or shouldn’t be confused with donkeys. Mind you, Americans also have navigation troubles with their fannies, but that is another story.
The arse is more than just a word, it’s a celebration of identity. Perhaps an identity that deserves to be covered with two pairs of underpants.