Skip to content

“I’m too old for pronouns.”

I was speaking to someone who told me that he was “too old” for the changes in the way we use pronouns to treat people respectfully.

I felt bad for this person. Obviously, his brain has atrophied to the point that a shift in simple, everyday language was beyond his level of cognition.

I also found it odd since my children seem to have made this shift in pronouns rather easily, and though I admittedly stumble from time to time while trying to adopt someone’s preferred pronouns, I, too, am navigating these respectful changes without great difficulty.

I’ve also changed my vocabulary in a multitude of ways over the course of my life, eliminating words that were deemed offensive and expanding my vocabulary whenever possible.

It’s language. It’s supposed to be fluid, evolving, and dynamic.

If you’re too old to make this adjustment, you must be wicked old. Ancient, even. So stodgy, decrepit, and creaky that a simple request for a respectful shift in pronouns is too much for your already overly-taxed brain.

You must be practically dead.

Do me a favor:

If I ever become too old to accommodate someone’s request for a respectful shift in language, please berate me in every possible way. Call me names. Throw eggs at me. Send me letters with the word “Stupid!” scrawled across the page in crayon.

I’m serious about this.

I never want to be so unaccountably stupid.