how’s this for a word?
i think i’m pretty good on not using words associated with physical disabilities as pejoratives, but i have trouble not using mad, crazy and insane. this is hardly unusual, according to the comments in http://zeroatthebone.wordpress.com/2009/09/24/next-on-the-list-of-things-that-really-annoy-me/ . it’s something we need to work on, and part of it is more than language; while most of us do understand that someone in a wheelchair isn’t less human than those of us who walk unaided, we don’t necessarily actually believe that about someone who is displaying erratic behaviour, going somewhere completely unexpected in conversation or even using unusual speech patterns, any of which may be attributable to a ‘mental illness’ or other non-neurotypicality. thorny, thorny issues.
please correct me if i’m wrong, but i don’t think dozy is a word that anyone will be upset about beyond what i’m actually meaning. in the last couple of days i’ve been noticing plenty of dangerous behaviour on the roads, and just now at macquarie centre, dozens of people just walked uncaringly in front of both my father with his walking stick, and me with a very full trolley. neither of us are able to stop as easily as they seem to assume. dozy. so dozy. i feel a little strange at feeling so accomplished by virtue of having found a word to be negative but not too negative with, but it really is necessary. any others?
numpty – a good word i hear, mostly for people who believe in woo.