“Redundant skin”? Does that mean what I think it means?

So I went to see the dermatologist yesterday for my annual checkup.  I’m happy to report that all is well.  No sign of skin cancer.  No need for another nosectomy like I had last year.

But as the doc was closely examining my neck, she remarked “Hmmmm….I think that’s nothing to worry about.  Just some redundant skin.”

REDUNDANT SKIN!  What an outstanding euphemism!!  I must remember this the next time someone suggests that I’m developing a double chin. Or just getting kinda fat.  “No, I will say.  But I do have some redundant skin.”

Euphemisms are handy. They frequently enable us to avoid or minimize awkward moments in polite company. But euphemisms can cause trouble also.  I heard a story of an ARDC meeting where the participants danced around the student’s inappropriate sexual behavior.  No one wanted to call it what it was, especially with the parent present. So the student’s BIP just indicated that there were some “new behaviors” that needed to be worked on.

That would not be a good use of a euphemism.  When talking to parents about their kids’ performance and behavior in school, we need to shoot straight.  So if the student is exposing himself in class, say so.  If the student regularly uses the F-word (there’s a nice euphemism), say so—don’t say he uses “inappropriate language.”  No one know what that means. We have an obligation to be direct and honest with parents. Failure to be honest and direct is disrespectful to parents, and in some instances (i.e., ARDC meetings) it might even have legal consequences.