Our Crazy Language

Words, words, words,   They are the Coin of our everyday exchange of ideas, and yet how carelessly we use them, and often giving not one thought to what we are really saying.

As when we approvingly say someone has The Midas Touch, meaning it as a compliment of some sort, yet the whole point of The Midas Touch fable was that the touch was a curse, not a blessing.

And how come we call it a SHIPment if our packages go by car, truck, plane or rail, and call it CARgo if it goes by a ship?

Why is it a Fashion if we like it and a Fad if we don’t?. And why do other Countries have Spies while we have Intelligence Agents? And just the same, we say a house burns up, when it really burns down? And say Literally, when we often mean Figuratively? We have a Waitress, a Laundress, and Hostess, to clear up any sexual confusion, but never Doctoress, Lawyeress, or ‘Teacheress?

I know it’s getting boring, but we call one who is absent, as an absentee, An escaper is an escapee, or stander a standee. and yet, paradox of all paradox, and give it a thought, for we switch the entire idea and an employer is never, ever an employee.

We thoughtlessly insult our original choice when we call a last-minute replacement, as a pinch-hitter, because a pinch-hitter is really someone with more talent, and who is taking the place of one less qualified.

Why do we call any snarl-up a big bottleneck when properly it is a lilttle bottleneck or there’d be no snarlup to begin with. Why do some people go to bed for sleep, while others turn in. And why do we hop a plane, take a bus, and jump into a cab.

When we refer to Churchill’s famous and wonderful words of defiance to Hitler, why do we speak of the blood, sweat, and tears and never once use his fourth word, the one of TOIL, without which the other three would have been useless?. Why do we close up a house, but close down a store or office. And why do we add that unnecessary word of ‘UP’ to such words as hurry UP, jump UP, or wake UP. You tell me.

And on and on, why do we over-use the unlovely word of ‘got’. We say he’s got the measles, when what we mean is he had/has the measles.   And in the same vein we say so and so was appointed to President, instead if simply ‘appointed President..

Why in every day speech is the ‘aftermath’ always unpleasant, when, the results, the aftermath can oft time be simply wonderful. and we so foolishly say “Cheap at half the price when we mean the absolute opposite.

Why do we so often begin our remarks with ‘frankly’, or ‘to tell the truth’, which it only makes it seem as if we don’t speak frankly very often, or that it’s unusual when we do tell the truth.

And going the same way, why do we begin or end over half of every sentence we speak with “You know”. Dang it, if we already know, it’s foolish to tell it again, and if we don’t know, all we have to do is just tell what we want them to know. And let it go at that.

Words, word, words, We become so familiar with them that we don’t even hear what we’re saying. And just going over only a few of the few inane words and phrases we use so carelessly, we know why people studying English as a new language, say it is the most frustrating language in the world. And they don’t exclude the Chinese language either. English it said, is the hardest of all to learn.

We have rules and more rules, and then always add the maddening phrase of “except”. . .  Yeah, be glad you were born speaking it. It’s too hard to learn later on.

The “Pill” Made the Difference

That blessed, blessed Pill . . .                                                       

Birth Control and “The Pill” have been the cause of untold world changes, but the fact that the  Bra is the only article of women’s clothing that wasn’t first worn by men,  is never once mentioned.  But ’tis true, true, true, and laugh though you may, read on and see the truth of my words.

Before scorning the  thought, take a moment and wander through history books.  Get out your Art Pictures of English Royalty, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, pictures taken from ancient Egypt, and see what’s there.

Panty Hose were worn by all male nobility round about Shakespeare’s time. Today, when we see them worn on stage or in movies, we call them Tights. But look closely. Nylon hadn’t been invented yet   but Panty hose is what they were.

And to show off that long expanse of sexy leg, (men’s, not women’s)  they topped them off with a ruffled mini skirt. Yeah, on men. and of course they weren’t called mini-skirts, but again take another look and you’ll see they were mini-skirts. Took us women until the twentieth century to claim those two items. Slow learners, and I know why, but that comes later.

Legs , as they still are today, have always been a sexual fetish, but today, it’s the women’s legs that catch our attention, when originally, it was the male leg that was adorned to catch and capture the beholder’s eyes.

The Scots had, and still have their kilts and are required garb for all formal affairs. The Greeks had their white skirts and wore them both for battle and daily wear.  Ruffled, and standing out like a Ballerina’s tutu. Nothing new under the sun . . except it was the men, not women, wearing them

Make-up was the men’s prerogative, too. They wore it even before Cleopatra put kohl on her eye lids and henna to her nails and palms. Different than our make-up kits, but the males from those long centuries ago. would stare at today’s  kits with delight and glory in thinking they were made for them, the males, and for heaven’s sake never for women.

And then we get to fancy shoes. We women were still wrapping our feet in cloth to keep out the cold when men were wearing leather, fur and silk. The pointed shoe toes, were longer than we women have ever worn. So long, in fact that they had to be held in place by long ribbons, held firmly from the tip of the toe , to the other end of the ribbon, in the wearer’s hands.   And when they wanted to impress someone, the ribbons were immediately used to display those foot long shoe-toe ornaments.  And also to aid them to carefully keep the toes upright, not walked, or tripped upon, or soiled.. Ribbons, yes, ribbons, and this taken care of by the mighty male.

Early Egyptian males wore ear rings, and wigs. And, we all are familiar with paintings of our early American leaders as Washington, Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, the Adams, all wearing them.   And it’s a law even today, that English Judges. when in Court, must wear those stylized, white curled wigs.

Men, for centuries have know the freedom and comfort of wearing pants, but it was not until the 1930’s that women even dreamed of wearing them.

Men, never did wear bras, physically they didn’t need them, but don’t forget they definitely did wear those items called Cod-Pieces that were so popular in the 15th, 16th and into the 17th centuries . Like many a bra, those Cod Pieces were also well padded. Look at some of those pictures and   you know they had to have been very well padded.     Brazenly well padded.

And you don’t know what Cod-Pieces were?? Well, I’m not going to tell you, either, but just hie yourself to Google or any dictionary and laugh with me. That’s one piece of clothing we women are never going to copy for we just don’t need them. .

Have fun with the whole long story, where we women have been copy-cats. And there is one good reason that men, and never women set the styles . It was a fact of life because, women . . . . before any form of birth control and the arrival of The Pill . . . women,  following their teen-age marriages and until menopause finally arrived,  were either pregnant or nursing a child. Always. Never a breather. Period. One or the other. On and on, except when, so often, nothing but death itself put   an end   to that otherwise endless cycle.

And their clothing was neither stylish or beautiful. Only functional.   Like a long, shapeless, roomy sack.   Thank you God for birth control.   That, and only that, is what finally gave women their freedom of life. And . . . also finally, the ability to be able to  have a  life, and not just exist to reproduce.    And not one thing other.  Women were machines,  and with no censure were quickly replaced if they did not fill that requirement.

Quiz Time

As you well know, I’m a pushover for ‘questions and answers’ and so here are a few questions I’ve been saving for hot and lazy days such as this, but I’m warning you, they’re tricky. So be prepared.

1. Leaving your starting point, you walk ten miles due north, then turn abruptly and walk ten miles due west. You then turn around and make a bee-line back to the point from which you started, a distance of ten miles. Now, the question is, would you be hot or cold?

2. A man has a 4 1/2 haystacks in one field and 5 2/3 haystacks in another. He got them all together. How any haystacks did he have?

3. What is it when a lifeguard builds a Snowman?

4. The longest sentence known to man can be spelled out with just four letters. Which ones?

5. Why may it be said that “A” is like twelve o’clock?

6.A teacher asked his class not to look at the map, but to tell him what is exactly in the middle of America. Can you tell?

7. A truck driver came to an underpass and noted that the clearance figure made it impossible for him to drive his truck through. He missed clearance by half an inch and cursed his luck. A detour would cost him several hours. Then he got an idea and in a few minutes drove his truck safely through. What did he do?

8. How can you keep a fresh supply of beef for several years without a freezer?

9. A car travels over 100 miles with a flat tire but neither the driver or passengers are aware of it. Why?

10. When  you are blessed with two sets of twins, twice, how many children would you have?

11. How can you make a pound of green tea go as far as five pounds of black tea?

12. Which of the U.S. states is the farthest north; which one the farthest east; the farthest west and the one most south?

Well, have all your answers?  Maybe, but now look at the answers, then kick yourself for not catching on to them, and now go try them on your neighbor, and I bet they won’t do one bit better than you did, either.

1. Cold. The only  possible place from which, and to which you can walk to the specified directions is the South Pole.
2. One great big haystack.
3. Winter.
4. L-I-F-E.
5. Because it’s in the middle of D-A-Y.
6. The letter R.
7. He deflated his tires just a little bit.
8. Feed and water it every day and put it in the barn at night.
9. The flat tire is in the Luggage Compartment.
10. Sixteen. A pair of twins in FOUR.
11. Buy the mentioned quantities of tea, for instance in Murray, Utah, package them together, and, then mail them to New York.
12. Yes, you’ll have a hard time believing this one, but get out your     globe or atlas and you’ll see the answer is right. Hawaii is the most southern of all the United States, but . .. and hold onto your hats . . . Alaska is the most northern; Alaska is the most western and Alaska is also the most eastern. And the reason is, that part of Alaska crosses the International Date Line, and so that area is in the Far East , while the rest of the state is considered part of the Western world.

Sorry, this is a cheating kind of a quiz, but it doesn’t matter how few you got right, you will be with the crowd. I did answer number nine correctly, but that only because I had read of it someplace before.  See ya next week.

DIY Resurrection

Grama and Gramps in the freezer? A lawyer’s holiday . . .

There are experts who say that in not too many years, people will take an inventory of their freezer and the list will be pretty much as it would be today, but . . . also as part of that list it will include, Grandpa, and cousin Amy.

I’m not joking. The scientists are experimenting with freezing people, (after they’re declared legally dead), and keeping them that way until a cure is found for whatever disease caused their death, Then, the plans are to ‘defrost’ the body, and bring it back to life with techniques they have already successfully accomplished on many small life forms. And then they will start healing the bodies of what killed them.

And, if they say this is what they plan on doing, I believe them, for I’ve noted that scientists never talk (brag) about their experiments until they’re pretty darn sure of what they’re saying. A lot of us remember when ‘going to the moon’ was a joke, but now it’s so taken for granted that new Lunar voyages seldom even make the headlines.

But bringing people back to life, (they were careful to not even come close to saying ‘resurrected)  will cause more than a few problems.  To begin with, say a man was 45 when he died. His wife about 40 and his kids 10 to 15.  And, what if, 25 years later the cure for the man’s fatal illness is found and, happy day. there he is alive and healthy. But, but, but wait a moment. What about his wife and family??

Well, for a starter, Of course his job is gone, and his nest egg and life insurance, were spent years ago, to put his own youngsters through college. His wife is now 65 years old and living in his home with a man she wed 20 years ago. And the resurrected man’s children have married and have given him a raft of grandkids.

It will create a Lawyer’s Holiday and fortunes will be made. And, Insurance companies will have to add a paragraph or two, explaining that they will pay only once on any policy, no matter how many times the insured people happen to live and die.

The only good thing in the expert’s experiments, is that it will cost so much that hardly anyone will be able to afford the procedure.

But I have an inquisitive (nosey?) mind and wonder if the resurrected people will have Souls (and will it be the same one?) or will they be Mechanical-People-Robots, and be better off in some Believe It Or Not circus. Will the new person even remember the life he once lived and where he died?

Before all this is a fait accompli, we’d better figure out where all the re-runs are going to live. We’re already so crowded that the only place for more is UP and there are now more and more areas where ‘  one-family dwellings’ are no longer legally allowed to be built. HI-RISE Condos and retirement homes are springing up all over, and now when there are too many of us already here , someone is trying to bring back past generations to add to our numbers.

We’re treading on no-no territory when we speak of resurrections (and they don’t) for that’s Someone Else’s business. We ought to think it over, because if those sharp scientists have their way, one of these days your freezer inventory really will include all the food we usually have on hand but will also have Grandpa, Grama, there, too.   Egad.