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My wife and I went shopping this morning. Within the first 10 minutes we had encountered at least a half-dozen bizarre drivers, including a young lady who stalled her car in the middle of an ilegal U-turn and had trouble restarting while blocking the road in all four directions; another who slowed down to a crawl on the highway merge; a third who blocked the left lane on the highway while going below the speed limit, etc., etc.

I fumed in silence, preemptively trying to avoid my wife’s admonitions that I should “Calm down” and that “We’re not in a hurry”. As I tried to maintain my good humour, an expression rolled uncontrollably into my mind: “Jesus Christ, all the paralytics are on the road today!”. Paralytics? Hell, that’s not even a term I grew up with. Where would I get such a spontaneous expression? I laughed out loud and told my wife what had happened. I suddenly realized where the term had come from: I’ve been watching WAY too many Victorian era dramas! Between Downton Abbey, Ripper Street, Copper, and the Murdoch Mysteries (all absolutely wonderful shows), terms even my grandmother wouldn’t have used, have crept into my vernacular

My wife laughed. She said, “Funny you should say that, but I caught a brief clip from a religious program on the radio the other day, and the whack-job being interviewed referred to gay men as “Sodomites”; an expression we had heard quite recently on several episodes of these shows.

So if you find yourself using any of the terms at this link, you’re probably suffering from Victorian Era Slang Syndrome (VESS). The only cure apears to be a steady infusion of wormwood absinthe poured over a sugar cube in a silver spoon. Keep it up and in no time, you’ll wind up in a “lunatic” asylum.