Official figures have revealed a sharp increase in the fear of being caught out misusing the word “ironic” at dinner parties and other similar get togethers.
“It’s a common fear,” says Barbara Demick, founder of Pendant Survivors, a support group for victims of faux pas based social exclusion. “Every year we see hundreds of peoples’ lives ruined, not literally, just to be clear, by the embarrassment and ostricisation that comes from misusing the term irony. And it’s so easy to do! I mean, obviously I’ve never done it. But it does happen. It’s society’s hidden killer. That and bad humous.”
The current spike is believed to have been prompted by a recent case in Hampshire. The individual, who can’t be named for legal reasons, has so far made no statement, mainly out of fear of making another faux pas.
Witnesses to the incident reported several sharp intakes of breath followed by a lot of looking at the floor in awkward silence. “One minute he was just chatting away,” said Susan Brentwhistle, another guest at the party, “then someone pointed out that when he’d said something was ‘ironic’ it was actually just a coincidence or something. Everyone went quiet after that.”
It is rumoured the individual in question has opted for a community reparation scheme run by Waitrose as a means to repay his debt to society.