Words that soften the blow

I spend hours a week sitting in school and county meetings and have had to decipher certain words that are used at these meetings. Often times these words are meant to mean something else, but these words can help soften the blow of the more commonly used words.


Well, let me try to explain.

For example, one of these words is abatement.

Say you are removing asbestos out of an old building. It sounds less scary I guess to say asbestos abatement than asbestos removal.

Abatement is also used to tell the public that a certain project doesn’t have to pay its property taxes. It’s an easier way to tell the public that they aren’t paying any taxes, with less people getting up in arms.

“Oh, the taxes are abated?”

It usually leaves people so confused they just move on.

Another one of these words on my list is actually two words – forgivable loan. It took me awhile to figure out that if the business getting this type of forgivable loan does what it promises to do in the agreement then the money is free and doesn’t have to be paid back. Doesn’t that mean you are just giving the company money but disguising it by saying it’s a loan?

These types of loans are commonplace from the government when they want to help land jobs and I guess they have been known to work. Just not sure why they call it a loan when usually it’s just free money.

There used to be a reality show that I watched several years ago on the A&E television network about an airline. Often on the show a passenger would be too big for one seat and needed two.

The airline workers called these people “customers of size” on the show. I guess that’s a lot easier to take than some of the other names people can come up with. When they weren’t dealing with these customers, it was amazing how many severely drunk passengers they dealt with in the terminal. They didn’t mince words on these people and had no problem telling others they were lit like a Christmas tree.

I’ll keep trying to decipher these code words in these meetings for you readers out there. Sometimes it’s hard to find the truth when it’s disguised so well.

Reporter Andrew Potter is a Tuesday columnist for the Times-Republican. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don’t necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Andrew Potter at 641-753-6611 or apotter@timesrepublican.com