Not Henry Reed's beautiful poem of the same name (do read it if you haven't already; it's one of my favourite war poems), but the naming of body parts.
We have all those coy little words we use, often during vistits to the doctor, and I've often wondered why. Why say "tummy ache" when it's abdominal pain? Why "bottom" for buttocks? Is it that people feel presumptous if they use the right word when speaking to a medical professional? As though the word belongs to the doctor, rather than the patient?
And as for genitalia...oh dear. "Willies" for boys (along with hundreds of other names); "front bottoms" perhaps for girls. Do children actually know the proper names for these body parts?
All this has been on my mind while reading Henry Marsh's fasincating book Do No Harm, about the life of a neurosurgeon, in which he has to keep stopping to explain all the medical terms.
I'll finish with a true anecdote of my own (I may have posted this before, in which case. apologies).
When I was a young staff nurse, I overheard the following conversation between a very new junior doctor, and his elderly (and very deaf) female patient:
Doctor: Have you had any trouble with your front passage?
Doctor (a littel louder): Have you had any trouble with your front passage?
Patient: I can't hear you!
Doctor: HAVE YOU HAD ANY TROUBLE WITH YOUR FRONT PASSAGE?
Long pause. Then:
Patient (puzzled, but trying to be helpful): Only when my neighbour parks his bicycle in it.