Words, punctuation, and phrases I hate: A growing list


I’ve been in the journalism business for most of my adult life – going on 30 years, dating to the days when newspapers were at the top of the information food chain. Here are some words and phrases I have come to detest.

1. Suspects

Reporters use this word to avoid a libel suit in case the person they maligned turns out to be innocent. I’m fine with that. But police are not looking for the suspect who robbed a convenience store. A suspect did not rob anything. A robber robbed a convenience store, and police are looking for the robber who robbed a convenience store. Now, if they find the person they think is the robber, that person is a suspect until he gets into the court system, at which point he becomes a defendant until found guilty or innocent.

2. Crews

Journalists, particularly TV reporters, love this word…

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How Halloween Charms the Grizzly Bear out of H.D.

Huntington's Disease and Me

… Step, stagger, speak, slur. Fog, fugue, forget, fret.

Step, stagger, speak, slur. Fog, fugue, forget, fret.

Step, stagger, speak, slur. Fog, fugue, forget, fret.

But suddenly:

Bell’s Palsy, ear PAIN!

Bell’s Palsy, ear PAIN, trigeminal NEURALGIA!

(Pain meds.)

Ear pain, trigeminal neuralgia, pain meds.

Ear pain.

And as a result:

Complain, expect, insist, subsist.

Lazy, crazy, hazy, home.

Bemoan, deride inside.

But tonight:

1000 zombie children come.

Swarming, wanting, fearing, thanking.

Adorable, inescapable.

Temporary cure for all the above.

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A window filled with light

Huntington's Disease and Me

For once, I can’t complain.

I am not being bothered by my HD symptoms. They are still there, but they are not bothering me.

I am neither sick, nor injured. I am well-rested.

I’ve stopped poisoning my body with unhealthy food.

And I will soon see a bunch of people who I love.

This has lasted for a string of days now, and I’m holding on to it as long as I can!

I’ve become so accustomed to describing the depths of despair, the rhythms of uncertainty and the cross hairs of the future, that it is difficult to describe these moments of precious peace, but I’ll try.

It is both feeling acceptance and accepted. It is the postponement of regret. It is the joyful embrace of now. Over and over, amen. What recently would have scared me now feels like a distant tickle. I am moving through the house…

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The dawn of being understood

Huntington's Disease and Me

Tales from the Motherland  and The Huntingtons Chronicles  are two blogs written by the same woman, Dawn Quyle Landau, who hails from the northern-most region of Washington state. Her posts are frequently featured on the Huffington Post.

My friendship with Dawn was sparked when I read one of those posts, in which she mentioned the lack of viral success of any Huntington’s disease awareness campaign.

I wasn’t on the right meds at the time, and (instead of angry verbal outbursts) I was as likely as not to send a long rambling letter expressing my dissatisfaction about one thing or another. It is not a period in my life that I treasure, but I am glad that I wrote one of those letters to Dawn.

Being a pie thrower, I was quick to fill her in on the HD Pie in the Face Challenge and to ask how she could deny that…

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The truth about WeHaveAFace

Huntington's Disease and Me

I first met James Valvano in December when I went to the WeHaveAFace HD awareness walk in Florida.

I was, from the beginning, impressed by the love and dedication that each family member seemed to direct towards the organization.

I went back to NC with a great feeling, thinking that I had met some special people.

Last week, I spent several days in Reidsville, NC for a screening of The Huntington’s Disease Project: Removing the Mask.

I finally got to meet and fall in love with Mary Etta Robertson and several members of her family.

During the days that surrounded the preparations for screening the film, I got the opportunity to talk with James, Ian, Mary and Amelia at length (and James W. via skype) about whatever topics they chose.

Every word uttered was related to helping people, planning to help people, and developing new ways to help people all over the world…

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Huntington's Disease and Me

A person whose opinion I respect as being honest told me what nobody else wants to say:

My symptoms are getting worse.

Before now, I had been going around, complaining about my symptoms to everyone, as I tend to do. I try to make it more like communicating what is going on with me to my loved ones, but it must get old…

Anyway, everyone always has an answer for me that is A truth. My friends are not liars. Still, nobody has been telling me THE truth.

Yesterday I was at Target, and I walked up to an employee and asked him if the store had any Chromebooks. It sounded like this:

“Yowlghadda…” Long pause while I have aphasia and the store clerk wrinkles his brow.

“Cromebook” I spit it out like old chewing gum. To me it was one of those OMG moments, but the person with me later said that…

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