Critter: (n) any creature.
Painful as it may seem, sometimes you just have to make a decision.
Neutrality may appear to be a safer ploy, but if you continue to insist that you can go one way or another, you usually end up going nowhere.
I will give you two examples of what I’m talking about.
The first one would be our selected word for the day—”critter.”
Although Webster insists it is synonymous—equal, if you will—to the word “creature,” you and I know it is not.
If I were sitting at a dinner with people of education, prominence and self-imposed superiority, and I were to utter the word “critter,” they would immediately assume that the conversation needed to be doled out in syllables of less than three.
Yes, I would be classified as a bumpkin.
I might be viewed as a hillbilly.
Considered quaint, but not cute.
And they would be afraid that I might break out into strains of Dixie, insisting that “the South will rise again.”
I don’t care what state you’re from (except maybe Mississippi). If your governor kept referring to creatures as critters, you might think it was a populist choice. But even if you were a small-town type person, you would be suspicious about trusting this individual to be in charge of the state treasury.
No, I don’t think you can say “critter” and not have all the accoutrements, sins, attributes and burdens of the Dixon part of the Mason cast upon you.
The same thing is true with the word “y’all.”
You can say, “All of you,” or “us together,” but the minute you say “y’all,” memories of moonshine and the Klan pop into the mind of your hearer, and you are cast among the ignorant.
I am not saying I agree with this, considering that I lived in the South for many years. But I have also traveled all over, and even though I grew up in Ohio, if I go to Wisconsin, they will insist I have a Southern accent.
It’s not because I have a drawl or a twang.
It is simply because sometimes I chat y’all up ‘bout ma’ critters.