Royal Dorset Constabulary Chief Constable Sir Rising Crimewave has promised swift and speedy action in the event of continued misuse of the suddenly popular term "lock-down", amidst growing evidence that the once situation-specific term is now being used as a catch-all to explain and excuse any and all systems failures and/or a reluctance on the part of individuals, organisations or companies to perform their normal functions in the time-honoured fashion.
Cases of people claiming to be unable to undertake the simplest of tasks because of a "lock-down" of some sort or other are - according to the Dorset Statistical Office - now rife with individuals who previously had "no idea what the damned word meant" using it "with all the freedom of a newly-proselytized 1960s hippie". Dorchester English Dictionary guru and star of Dorset TV's Crossdown Suzie Wench says "though not a neologism - it dates from Samuel Thrupepys's time ["Comes Ms Hamilton and I do have her in fine condition she being lock'd-down beneath my eager manhood" Diaries Vol 3 [BradpoleEdition] - it does appear to be undergoing serious transformation into a word which, in everyday use, seems to mean "I can't be arsed and I have the perfect excuse not to be". One could get precious about these things and insist that words are words precisely because they convey specific transmissible meaning but that's been pretty old hat ever since The University of Afpuddle decided to create an English Faculty."
Meanwhile examples of the new usage pile up. Mrs M T Basket a recent visitor to Waitaminute's megastore on the Afpuddle Research and Speculative Building Campus writes to tell us that the firm's cabinet of almost out-of-date goods which is normally heavily discounted was today selling at no discount at all. Noting the absence of the usual indicative reduced-price stickers on the close-to-fetid goods, she inquired of the assistant only to be told that the usual discounts did not apply because "the tills were currently in lock-down as far as applying discounts is concerned". So, she politely inquired, was this anything to do with high demand and being able to offload almost anything to a panicking public at whatever price the store chose? "You'd have to ask management", the assistant replied, "but he''s currently in lock-down outside the back door having a fag".
Meanwhile Sir Rising - who failed to appear at the RDC's daily press briefing yesterday - was said to be in lockdown following a rowdy night out with friends and several probationary warnings from his wife. A far from delighted Lady Crimewave revealed that he will be "working from home" for the foreseeable future.