Are they worker bees, girls, or units?
Writing a blog is fun, especially when readers write comments and e-mails. This morning I opened a message with an e-mail address I had seen before. It was a long piece, so I scanned it first. My eyes fell on the phrase “apis production unit” as in “The apis production units are now building comb . . . .” Say what? Further on the phrase was shortened, as in “zillions of production units.” Eventually it became even more succinct as in, “the units have to crawl over it.” (emphasis added)
I had to read the message word-by-word before I figured out that the writer—knowing my dislike for the term “girls” and in deference to my delicate psyche—had renamed them, “apis production units.” Now I was laughing out loud.
I admit to writing from time to time that I don’t use the term “girls” because I think it’s weird. But I have no problem with someone else using it. It’s just a choice—mine and theirs. I won’t get a fit of the vapors if someone uses the word in my presence. Still, it was a sweet gesture.
Unfortunately, the writer doesn’t know my issues with the word “unit.” My husband uses “unit” indiscriminately, which drives me crazy. He might be talking about the stove, as in “I’d like to replace that unit” or the refrigerator as in, “that unit doesn’t fit as well as the last one” or the dishwasher, “the door on that unit . . .” Or it could be cars, “Ford produced more units than . . . .”
Why, oh why, can’t we just name the object and be done with it? But no, I’m clueless. I have to guess what we’re talking about. Constantly. (I don’t know if I should blame this quirk on the fact that he’s an engineer or that he’s Canadian. It has to be one or the other . . . but, I digress.)
In spite of my personal hang-ups, the writer of the e-mail is my hero of the day. He made me laugh. I picture him on a white steed with a suit of golden maille and “zillions” of apis production units swirling about his helmet. Never offending the ladies, chivalry is job one.
Oh, one more thing: when I get tired of blogging about APUs I’m going to blog about English. Trust me. But you already know that . . . .