Features > This bloke in a pub

16 April 2014 | by John Morrish

This bloke in a pub

The Language Game

There was a charming, thoughtful piece about ageing in The New Yorker recently, by 93-year-old sports writer and essayist Roger Angell. In the course of it, he disparaged the word “elder”, describing it as “halfway between a tree and an eel”, but cheerfully referred to himself as a “geezer”. For the old, as for many other groups, it has become important to embrace the language of disparagement.The Americans use “geezer” differently; “old geezer”, the common form here, is tautologous there, where all “geezers” are old. Here, they can be any age. “I was talking to this geezer in the pub,” you might say, and he could be in his twenties. (There are no female geezers.) Indeed, the words used about old people te


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