Monday, October 10, 2011

The "WC" Rebellion

          In England, it won’t take you long to figure out that the abbreviation “WC” stands for “water closet” which is the British equivalent of the American word “restroom.” You’ll be relieved to know that, in an excruciatingly polite and indirect manner, both of these euphemisms will lead you to the nearest toilet.

            Other European countries have adopted the “WC” abbreviation. You can now pay a visit to a WC in France, Germany, Italy, Hungary, and Holland. However, you’d better learn the word “toiled” if you need a toilet in Wales. Gwynedd, a town in northern Wales, is protesting the English “WC” on their road signs that indicate a nearby toilet facility.

            “But isn’t Wales part of Great Britian?” you ask in a puzzled voice. “Why would the Welsh people object to a “WC” sign?”

            That’s a great question! Well…although Wales is technically part of Great Britain, the Welsh people wouldn’t mind being independent. (Americans so get this.) The use of only the British “WC” on the sign is what the Welsh people find objectionable; the Welsh word “toiled” has been left off. Some Welsh see this as an attempt by the British to deprive them of their linguistic heritage.

            There’s a part of me that sympathizes with the Welsh people. It must be difficult to pass along your cultural legacy and traditional language to the next generation when even the signs for the toilet are only in English.

            On the other hand, it’s a sign for the toilet, for heaven’s sake! Is using the “WC” abbreviation really a devious plot by the English to stamp out the traditional language of Wales? Will history books point to the Welsh “WC” rebellion as the climactic moment that led to Welsh independence? Only time will tell.