"Too late, old boy, too late, the saddest words in the English language."

Thus spake Captain Grimes, schoolmaster, pederast and one of the great comic characters of the 20th century. But he was wrong. Too and late are indeed sad words, but there are plenty sadder.

I'll give you two right now off that superior and famously spontaneous cranial region, the top of my head. And the first of these is - drumroll, fanfare, pause while large buckets are wheeled into place in case of community reflux on an overwhelming scale - proactive.

And yes, of course, before we go an inch further, before I delve into the unspeakable sadness of proactive, yes, I plead guilty to being an old man howling at the sky. For as I have said and written time without number, language evolves in the same way that species evolve. It is