Tapping the Internal Jargon Vein

August 31, 2009 § 2 Comments

All professions and work places develop a certain jargon (photo credit) that tends to be unintelligible to an outsider. For the last four years I’ve been working on a online resource for cancer treatment. If a anyone would happen to stumble into one of our editorial meetings, they would most likely have been shocked by the seemingly sleazy chatter.

In this project we worked through all the different cancer types, one type at a time. Documenting diagnosis and treatment in text, photos and video. Working with such a serious and often deadly subject matter inevitably results in a rather dark from of humor, some of which I have written before. In our case the jargon was not so much about strange terminology, but more of using certain words in an unfavorable way. And most of the funny stuff happened when we were absolutely not being humorous.

The most memorable glitches happened when we were working with the urological cancer types. At one time, when editorial responsibility for the cancer types was redistributed, a female editor firmly stated: “I’m holding on to penis”. “Oversharing,” was the giggly response.

The plan was to publish all the urological cancer types together, but when the deadline was closing in it was obvious that at least one of them had to be postponed. A meeting was held, and at the end our project leader could announce her decision: “Let’s cut testicles!”

Everyone agreed.

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