"Staycation" is banished from the vocabulary, hopefully for good

Lake Superior State University has released its annual List of Banished Words, a compendium of overused, idiotic, and otherwise grating words that we're all completely sick of hearing. Most of them, culled by submissions from the public, are words that have had deep meaning wrung out of them after being flogged to death as shorthand, either by lazy journalists or shallow politicians.

Among the vocab pariahs: "Bailout," the pairing of "Wall Street" and "Main Street," and "maverick." But there's one word on the list that irks me more than any other: "staycation."

The word was bandied about the media in the early summer as a quick way of illustrating a malaise about gas prices. People weren't interested in seeing the world this year, we were told. They're taking staycations instead. Staycations, apparently, are like vacations, except you don't travel far from home, or away from home at all. Which still makes them vacations, but whatever.

When I was growing up, we just called that "budgeting." When we couldn't afford to go skiing one winter, my mom didn't give the decision a snazzy name to make it seem cool or trendy. We just did something else. What irks me most about staycations is that by giving a sensible economic solution a catchy name, we legitimized the fears that kept some people home. It was like agreeing that travel was too expensive to be done now.