It’s noted far too often that the English language—specifically American English–is an unwieldy and soldered-together piece-of-shit language composed mostly of the scrap other languages felt fit to throw our way along with their criminals, religious dissidents, and soldiers that forgot to catch the boat home.
I won’t belabor the point, because it’s basically one of those things that technical writers and English teachers spank it to but everyone else could give two shits and a Mountain Dew about, but I’ll say this: for whatever reason, we, as English language speakers, have done an excellent job at retaining or inventing names for skin infections (yay us!).
Feast your eyes on this:
Yeah. That’s IMPETIGO. Look at that word and then look at the picture, now look at the picture then back at the word. Now look at both simultaneously. Now slap yourself on the right titty.
Forget that last part. The point is, this is what my children decided to bring into our house this week. All three of them. My oldest got rid of it with rubbing alcohol, stubbornness, and the promise that she could shave her legs if the scabs on her knee healed. My middle daughter, who runs the hygiene gambit from gamine to urchin on a daily basis, didn’t even know what it was and just put band-aids on anything with pus (I tried to say “remotely pusy,” but that’s not a word. “Pussy” is a word but means something else. If my daughter put band-aids on anything that looked remotely pussy, well, better to not think about such a thing).
“IMPETIGO.” Sounds exactly like what it is. I could give you the origin but I’m not a judge at some stick-up-the-ass spelling bee and I’m a teacher during the summer so fuck you. The point is that that word and…
…are perfectly compatible.
In addition to IMPETIGO
we have PINK-EYE, which sounds like a Batman villain, POISON IVY, which is a fucking Batman villain, PSORIASIS, which sounds like something that comes out of your butt, RINGWORM, which doesn’t even have a worm involved but is so gross they had to think of something fucking gross to call it, and TETTER.
TETTER doesn’t sound so bad, I guess, except…
In addition, there is: FOLLICULITIS, FURUNCULOSIS, CARBUNCULOSIS, ECTHYMA, and my personal favorite NECROTIZING FASCIITIS, which looks like a rash but is actually eating your tissue and organs like some crazy band of nanobots out of a Michael Crichton novel.
Even the words POX and POSTULE are gross.
There are exceptions. IMPETIGO is characterized by a crusty, yellowy lesion. This is called a “honey crust” which, taken without context, sounds DELICIOUS. It’s not. It’s hellacious and tormenting and awful. It’s the second time this year I’ve heard the word “honey” ascribed to something terrible. The first time was the “Honey Badger,” which sounds like a porn nickname but is actually a ferocious quadruped that is mean, ugly, and apparently Republican.
How could we, as English speakers, decide something as sweet and yummy and of-the-lord as honey could be used for such terrible things?
Because we speak English, and English is dumb.