It’s hard for old timers like me to live in a world whose technology is constantly changing. No sooner do I learn to use a cell telephone than a new model is introduced which is much more complicated. So, I am in a constant state of learning then unlearning then trying to learn something else. The experts say that old folk resist change, but one must at least attempt to live somewhat in modern society.
A good example of this is a simple magazine. I received a copy of a popular magazine today, one that I never ordered or paid for, and discovered something interesting. When I placed the magazine on the table it had a nice looking cover. When I picked it up later to thumb through it, the cover was entirely different. I did a double take – had I picked up the wrong magazine? Closer examination showed that this issue was half on one side, and the other half just the opposite. Now, why would they issue a magazine that one has to flip over to read? That just further confuses us old folk.
I have also noted that the latest generation is abandoning words and phrases that have weathered the test of time. It gets confusing when tried and true words are no longer in use.
One example is the word “died”. We used to say that someone died. Now almost everyone uses the word “passed” instead. Perhaps the word “died” has such finality attached that it seems more polite to use the word “passed”, as if they passed over the river Jordan into another realm.
Another word that has fallen victim to the new generation is “vacation”. People have been taking vacations for many years. Now the word for that activity is “vacay”. Imagine hearing your spouse say, “I so need a vacay.” You reply, “Tell me what that is and I’ll see if Dollar General has any.”
This new word is really confusing. It is “hash tag”. I understand it is used with the social medium “Twitter”. What used to be the “numbers” sign to my generation, and then became the “pound key” on a telephone dial has now morphed into a part of an address to “twitter someone”. Just dial “hash tag/flatfeet” for your podiatrist.
In my time, and until very recently, when introducing a speaker we would ask the audience to “give them a hand”. Or after a performance we would clap loudly our approval thus “giving them a hand”. Now that has been replaced by “give it up for”. Mostly on television I hear program MCs telling the audience to “give it up for (insert favorite singing group)”. I am not sure just what one is giving up to clap approval.
Note how often you will hear a government official on TV make this statement “an overabundance of caution” was used in this situation. They usually use that new term when the officials have made a colossal error and are trying to smooth the waters of criticism. What they mean is “we were just so careful and ambitious that we screwed up, but you should not hold us accountable.”
I am hearing this phrase more and more today – “it is what it is”. When a reporter interviews the loser of some event he/she will sometimes make the statement “well, it is what it is”. That phrase explains nothing and just states the obvious, so why is it so popular today?
I’ll end this article with the last popular phrase heard today which is “at the end of the day.” Talking heads and pundits on television news programs are fond of that statement. I am not sure even they know for sure what it means, and that may be why politicians use it. They are fond of any statement that sounds good but does not mean anything at the end of the day.
“WILL IT NEVER END?”
BY: NEAL MURPHY
107 HEMLOCK STREET
PO BOX 511
SAN AUGUSTINE, TX 75972