You can always tell when people are jobless. They don’t just sit around doing nothing as you might expect. They go out and see how they can irritate other people. One guaranteed way of doing this is to insist on political correctness, however silly. That way they can kill two birds with one stone — pretend to work and contribute to the stock of humour in the world.

Did you find anything offensive in the preceding paragraph? No? Then you are sane, normal, and likely to be human. If not, and the expression “kill two birds with one stone” startled you and made you want to dash off a letter to the United Nations, then this column is for you.

Some of us have found a new battleground. Wars and hunger and pestilence and trolling are passé. People who object to that phrase — and others — take offence on behalf of animals. “What is all this about killing two birds with one stone?” they ask, “Do you know how bad it makes birds feel?” From here on, they say, please use the phrase “Feed two birds with one scone” to mean the same thing.

I am not making this up. Also banned, to their way of thinking is, “Beat a dead horse”, to be substituted with “Feed a fed horse”. Don’t say “Take the bull by the horns”, instead say, “take the flower by the thorns.” Now you see what I mean by being jobless?

It is “speciesism” they object to, the manner of treating animals like animals. I have been saying that it is raining cats and dogs for years now without either a cat or a dog objecting, but those glory days are coming to an end, apparently.

What those who wish to change our language do not seem to understand, however, is that such substitutes might offend birds who hate scones, and people who are scratched by thorns, not to speak of horses who are on a diet.

Social justice warriors (that sounds vaguely offensive too) know there is more than one way to skin a cat, or, as they might say, more than one way to bin a mat. With a little effort (and often with no effort at all), you can take offense at the most innocuous things. “The cat sat on a mat”, for example, might be insulting to cats who sit on sofas, and the mite who live in mats.

This bird-brained (or curd-trained) scheme is guaranteed to make all of us appear like wolves in sheep’s clothing (or wools in jeep’s hoarding). Is there more? On second thoughts, best not to talk about the elephant in the room (or yellow paint in the broom).

More from Suresh Menon:

Delicate snowflakes and the CAPITAL CASE

Never go to a doctor whose plants are dying

Hello, there’s someone at the door