I had a lecturer once, when I was a first-year Eng.Lit student at the University of Cape Town, who ran an English Language course which was compulsory and therefore not always popular. Yet I have to say that the course marked me more deeply than I could possibly, as a snotty nineteen year-old, have imagined. One of the professor’s pet loathings (help me, someone, I forget his name, but the moment you mention it I’ll say yes! of course! professor so-and-so! though he might have been – dropping a clue here – a senior lecturer and not a full professor) was the inflation of language, a loathing you might have picked up in my own scribblings. For example, he would ask, why is every policeman these days an ‘officer’? A policeman (we were not gender-sensitised back then) is a policeman, but an officer is an officer.
In the same spirit, and in homage to a presumably long-deceased mentor (he was ancient even then, probably in his fifties) I give you as today’s example of bad language the ‘retirement designer’ (notice the double emphasis, of quotation marks and italics).
‘What,’ demands the Royal Bank of Canada, in an advert in the Toronto Globe and Mail this morning, ‘will you do with the 2000 hours a year you used to spend working?’
Well, that’s a mighty good question, and I’m working on my answer. But it won’t be, let me assure you, calling up the Royal Bank’s vaunted ‘retirement designer’ for worksheets and advice, day planners, loyalty points, and an occasional fling at Bingo.
I trust that the labour market economists have taken note, however. What is the occupational code for a ‘retirement designer’?