Beetle: (n) an insect of an order distinguished by forewings
It’s a language which I have affectionately, but sarcastically, dubbed “Marjorian.”
It was named in honor of a woman I once knew named Marjory.
Marjory had developed a way of speaking in which she would address any problem that ended up falling in her front yard with very gentle language, while summarizing the actions of others she did not like with more sinister terms.
Let me give you an example.
When Marjory’s daughter became pregnant in high school, she insisted they had planned on having the young girl marry her beau, but the pavilion they wanted to use was not available, so normally the pregnancy would have fallen after the marriage, but preceded it only because of a scheduling conflict.
Yet when the young girl next door found herself with an unwanted pregnancy at age seventeen, Marjory whispered to the neighbors that “the lass was a tramp” and that such declining morals were ruining our country.
She spoke Marjorian–a language generous to oneself while condemning to others.
I bring this up because one day I was sitting in Marjory’s home and a bug crawled across the floor. Instinctively I leaped to my feet and crushed it with my foot. I knew the insect to be a roach. When I identified the bug to Marjory, she immediately disagreed and said, “No, no. That’s a beetle.”
Apparently it was completely respectable to have a beetle crawl across your floor but not a roach.
Being in a playful mood, I picked up the remains of the bug and carried it over to Marjory, causing her to launch into a hissy fit.
I put it toward her face, showing her that this bug had no wings, and was therefore not a beetle.
Without missing a beat, Marjory countered by saying that “it was a Japanese beetle. They don’t have wings.”
I immediately realized that Marjory had no idea of the flight habits of the Japanese beetle. But it was not worth arguing about, so I tossed the carcass into the garbage can, finished my conversation and coffee and was on my way.
I have met many people who have their own dialect of “Marjorian” language, but it always amazes me that after all the claims are made, all the exaggerations espoused and all the false belief preached, that somehow or another… the truth still has a way of winning the day.
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