Are you familiar with fad-speak? Sure you are. Or do I have to give you a wake-up call? Or tell you it’s time to smell the roses? Or maybe that you need a reality check. Because if we’re on the same page, then you should be having fun yet. Unless you’re having a midlife crisis. Or if that’s on the back burner, then maybe a senior moment?
Have you ever wondered about the source of these phrases? Probably not, because you have more important things to think about. But having too much time on my hands, and not wanting to deal with more essential matters, like what to make for dinner, I confess to wasting precious minutes pondering the origins of these memes.
Hey, all you geezers out there! Do you think you’re still cool? If you do, it’s a sure sign that you’re not. Because if you were, you’d be Gucci.
Have no idea what I’m talking about? That might indicate that you aren’t woke. Don’t worry. I’m here to help. The enormous popularity of social media has produced an alternate language of shorthand and conjoined words that change as quickly as you can say “Huh?” It’s hard to communicate with your grandkids when they sound like they’re speaking Klingon.
To borrow a catch phrase from George Takei: Oh My! What a field day for the snarksters! Could we possibly be living in a better time? Pre-election daily life has turned into a satire of pre-election daily life.
Such a plethora of new material with each news cast, tweet, and so-called presidential debate, one hardly knows where to begin. It’s a 24\7 cornucopia of undignified absurdity. You can’t make this stuff up. Fortunately, or unfortunately, you don’t have to.
Our very culture is being challenged in unexpected ways. For example, many bridge players are considering an alternative to the trump card, and Aleppo is now being pronounced with a rising inflection and spelled with a question mark at the end.
I don’t mean to sound presidential, but I do want to be perfectly clear. I know for a fact that I could have happily lived out the rest of my days without ever having participated in Social Media.
Social Media. I find the very name a paradox. Can you imagine anything more antisocial than a system that causes one’s complete attention to be focused on a device screen, to the exclusion of everything and everyone around you? Hey, watch out for that manhole!
But one must do what one must do, and when I initiated this blog almost 4 years ago, it was recommended that I create a Facebook page to reach a larger audience. There were hundreds, even thousands, of people out there waiting to “friend” me, hungry for every word I was writing. I have to admit it has worked, (well, maybe not thousands) and that my heart does beat a little faster when I see another “thumbs up” icon on my site.
There is nothing that says “old” more than conversing with someone several decades less ancient than you, and having absolutely no idea what they’re talking about. The grammar and syntax seem familiar, but the actual words may as well be Urdu. This could bring tears to the eyes even to those among us with Twitter accounts.
So, as a public service to my cohorts on the upper end of the age spectrum, in an effort to keep everyone well-informed and au courant, I present below my second annual “English As A Second Language” self-test. As much as I would like to credit myself for having invented this new jargon, the words were actually selected from among the 1,500 new entries into the Oxford English Dictionary. Have fun!
I have a confession to make. When I take you into my confidence, I know I risk dropping several points in your estimation of me. You may no longer regard me as one of the “cool” people. (Is it still cool to be regarded as a “cool” person?)
But I like to believe that the relationship we have built over the years is solid enough not to crumble when I reveal to you that I am not now, and never have been, the owner of an iPhone.
Or any other smart phone for that matter.
Growing older is no excuse for not keeping on top of things! No, this is not a reference to the sexual practices of septuagenarians, but to being in tune with what is happening today! Specifically, I am referring to words, vernacular, vocabulary.
For instance, do you think you know what the word “cloud” refers to? Well, you’re wrong! It used to mean only one thing. Now it means quite another. This formerly simple concept has been kidnapped by the technology industry to describe a data storage method.
And this is just one small example. Language is changing by the minute. So to keep up with what’s au courant, I’ve put together a 10-item quiz to test your TQ (Trending Quotient). If you don’t want to feel like a dinosaur, take this exam before your next conversation with a millennial. Don’t know who a millennial is? Then that might be a good place to start.
Looking over the kitchen counter, I can see my husband. He is in the living room, sitting in his favorite chair, reading the newspaper, and leisurely enjoying his second cup of coffee. It is early morning, and he’s still in his pjs, bath robe and slippers. It is one of those days when he doesn’t have to rush off to work. The dogs are curled up at his feet, partially out of love. The other part is the hope that some left-over crumbs from breakfast will fall from his lap.
Although this scenario is one that has become entirely familiar to me, on this particular morning I am suddenly overwhelmed by a warm glow which I’m fairly certain is not a lingering hot flash.
I know my little saga started on a Wednesday, because that’s when The New York Times publishes the “Dining” section. It was my husband who saw the editorial about the gadget which promised to make the world’s best iced coffee. He knows how much I love iced coffee, right up there on my food list next to Cool Whip.
He was very thoughtful, really, tearing the article out of the paper to save for me before tossing the rest of the pages onto the floor. Throwing the sections onto the floor is his way of communicating to me that they may be discarded. He is a very smart man, but apparently, he is unable to find his own way to the recycling bin.
But I digress. So I read the article, and am surprised to learn that this miracle machine was created in Japan by a Japanese company. I know that I might be stereotyping, but I had never before associated the Japanese people with coffee. Tea, maybe, and definitely saki, but not coffee. Then, again, I probably underestimate the influence of Starbuck’s on a nation’s palate.