Yay! We’ve made it to the second chapter of this saga called “my blog”! Let’s look at this weird, quirky way we communicate—through language.
One of my favorite comedians is the late George Carlin. He passed away in 2008; he always talked shit about politicians, Democrat and Republican (I would love to hear what he would have said about Obama and Trump). He also had a tremendous fascination with words and language.
In one of George Carlin’s HBO shows, which was recorded back in the early 1970’s he mentions his infamous “Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television”, and proceeds to list them off. Follow the link if you want to check that out.
Anyway, I got to thinking about the subject of words and language. Words are an interesting thing. We can assign an arbitrary idea to a word. It then becomes a part of culture. Over time, words come and words go. Prior to the year 2000, no one knew what a “selfie” was. A smartphone was nonexistent. At one time “gay” meant happy; “Coke” was a soda, or a coal-burning byproduct; “grass” was something you mowed; “faggot” was a pile of sticks. Over time, words can take on a completely different connotation. The infamous “n-word” was once an acceptable way to refer to a black person. Today, it’s a severely pejorative word.
When we’re little children, learning to talk, learning what words mean and how to use them in sentences to express what we’re feeling and to communicate, we hear people say certain words. Kids don’t know the meaning of words–just how to arrange them in a sentence. Kids hear certain words and repeat them. They think it’s normal conversation. Their parents scold them, or, in horror, tell the child, “No! Don’t say that! It’s a bad word!” Okay, what is a bad word? What is it about a certain word that makes it good or bad? For example. why is “shit” a bad word? Those four letters, in that particular arrangement, simply make up a word. Anagram the word, and you get “this”. Anyway, why is that order of those four letters bad?
You find the words “hell”, “damn” and “ass” in Scripture, but outside of that, they’re “bad words”…WHY? The reason: society has arbitrarily decided that certain words are “vulgar or obscene”, and not socially acceptable. Whenever certain “obscene” or “vulgar” words are aired on television or radio, they’re omitted with a high-pitched sound (the bleep), and on TV, some stations attempt to pixelate the mouth, so the viewer cannot determine what word the person used.
I’ve wondered: why is so-called foul language censored on normal broadcast TV and radio (you’ll hear them all the time in movies and on cable/satellite TV), yet kids, at all ages, are exposed to them on a constant basis? Sure, saying the “F word” constantly is a sign of poor taste. In my “old age”, I’ve let my profanity filter drop. People in general don’t like to hear certain words, as they’re considered classless or, again, in poor taste, possibly inappropriate. I really try to keep my language in check, like at work within earshot of a customer, or when the big shots are around. They do slip out, though. Oops!
Now, to lighten things a little–*why? Is it dark in here?*🤣 I’m going to list some rather quirky things about this American English language we speak.
- Why do we drive on parkways, yet park on driveways?
- How do you preheat an oven?🤔 Is that a practice heating session? I always thought that an oven could only be heated or unheated.
- Preboarding an airplane: is that getting on before getting on? Is it practice?
- Speaking of travel by airplane, it’s said that when we board the plane, we get on it. That would seem to be awfully windy. I’ll get in, thank you very much.
- Isn’t a “yard sale” or “garage sale” a form of false advertisement? I mean, people are selling their unwanted items, not the yard or just the garage. I mean, it should be called a “stuff sale”. Just once, I want to go to a yard sale and ask the person how much they want for their yard. I mean, they’re advertising a yard So, I want to buy the yard. Not the house or the stuff on it, just the yard. Or maybe they’re selling three feet of something: a yard of material or wood.
- Sometime, I want to go into a gift shop and ask for my gift.
- Going back to planes, why would anyone want a non-stop flight? Don’t you want to go somewhere? OR are you just interested in flying for the rest of time? Doesn’t the plane run out of fuel sometime? Preferably you have at least one stop: your destination, and hopefully at the airport. I mean, crashing into something can ruin a perfectly good trip.
- Why is it that noses run and feet smell? Aren’t they doing each other’s jobs that way? Something just ain’t right there…
- Vegetarians eat vegetables, carnivores eat meat (carne). What do humanitarians eat? Ugh, cannibal much?
- Crime fighters fight crime. Fire fighters fight fires. What do freedom fighters fight? Certainly not tyrants!
- Why isn’t a hamburger made out of ham?
- A canine in 115° heat is a hot dog, but you might not want to eat it.
- If cannibals ate a clown, would they say it tasted funny?
- Why does the letter combination “ough” in English have like 10 different pronunciations? Don’t believe me? Go give this a read.
- Through, Thorough and Cough don’t rhyme, but “pony” and “bologna” do.
- Read rhymes with lead. Read also rhymes with lead. (think about present and past tenses)
- The past, present and future walked into a bar together. It was a tense moment.
- You can’t run in a campground. You can only ran, because it’s past tents.
I hope this little trip into words and language wasn’t boring, like when we were in school (yawn!)
Okay, this post was resurrected from the archives, dusted off, slightly edited and now resides in 2018. I originally typed this back in April 2015. It’s not quite as personal—a little more topical. I like to mix things up a little. Introverts do that sometimes. Perhaps it’s the Virgo in me. Who knows? Anyway (I use that word a lot, don’t I?), that’s yet another post in my new blog adventures. Next stop: your guess is as good as mine. Let’s take the midnight train going anywhere (any guesses as to the reference?).
Have a pleasant week, and remember, above all, be safe and be well.