A Few Definitions

Aside from fire and Velcro, language is the most useful tool humans have ever produced.  Once we went beyond grunting and growling, we were able to communicate complex ideas with a precision that made us the dominant species on this planet.  Unfortunately, these days we’re not playing nice with our words, and they’re losing their effectiveness.  We’ve taken to manipulating the language to try and give words extra meaning that they don’t deserve – and it’s failing miserably.  Here are a few contemporary words (we’ve all heard thousands of times – a day) that are supposed to carry a connotative punch – but they don’t – because we all know what they really mean.

1 — White Privilege – A bunch of privileged white people calling other white people “privileged” as if they did it on purpose just to be assholes.

2 — Twitter – A virtual stick that we beat people with until they agree not to disagree.

3 — Instagram – An historical record of just how culturally shallow we are in the 21st century.

4 – Facebook – Instagram for old people.

5 — Woke – “I live on a higher plane of consciousness than you do.”

6 — Virtue Signaling – This is how you know I live on a higher plane of consciousness than you do.

7 — Hate – Criticism you don’t like. “She said these jeans make me look fat.  She’s always been a hater!”

8 — Support – Criticism you do like.  “She said these jeans made me look curvy.  She’s always been supportive!”

9 — Brave – We’ve been using this word for everything from telling our daughter we’re gay to wearing pink chiffon, yoga pants and a hoodie.  Essentially, we’ve devalued the currency of this term so completely nobody even hears it anymore. (Remember what happened to “hero”?)

10 — Clicktivist – There is no IRL equivalent to this made-up cyberword.  The closest I can find is smug.

11 — Gluten Free – What we’ve been doing to safeguard our health — instead of finding a cure for cancer.

12 — Content Warning – The latest lame-ass attempt to keep the cybermob quiet.  We use it because — in the great tennis match between the eagerly offended and the immediately placated — the offended crowd upped the ante and declared that “trigger warning” itself was actually a trigger.  Go figure!

13 — Conversation – As in “We need to have a conversation about that.”  And it means: I’ll do the talking, and if you don’t shut up and agree, I’ll go Twitter (see Item #2) on your ass.  Not to be confused with “dialogue” which is too yesterday to be taken seriously.

14 — Issues – Problems that can’t possibly be solved.  A handy way to maintain perpetual victim status.

15 – Giving Back – The stuff rich people do when they are a) “woke” (see item #5) b) “virtue signaling (see item #6) and c) have some time on their hands.

16 – Awareness – Wasting time stating the obvious.  Does anybody know anybody who isn’t aware of inequality?

17 — Authentic – Social media sincerity that takes a ton of careful planning.

18 — Shaming – No, I’m not going to go there.

19 – Toxic – I don’t like this, and I’ve decided that nobody else should like it either.

And finally the one that demonstrates just exactly how easily the language can be manipulated:

20 – ‘Splaining – Add any prefix you want (man, age, size, eco, etc.) and you can get pissed off about it.

New Gods For Old Age

Although old is a relative term, generally, old people never get anything and (some would say) deserve even less.  Children annoy them, teenagers avoid them and adults talk to them in that voice we reserve for pets.  Their stories are long, their habits are confusing and they play way too much “Remember When.”  However, old people have it over everybody else on the planet because they have their own set of gods!  These gods and goddesses, like the pantheon of Valhalla or Olympus, govern all aspects of “older” life.  They appear to us slowly as we tack on the years.  They slyly watch as we slowly trade in our tequila for iced tea, push-up bras for baggy sweatshirts, stiletto heels for comfortable shoes and muscle cars for minivans.  And by the time we’ve replaced vodka shots with a glass of wine and clubbing with crossword puzzles, they have our fate firmly in their hands.  These gods should not be ignored because we’re all going to have to deal with them one day.

Cutonya – The goddess of beautiful grandchildren.  With one glance, she turns any grandchild into the cutest, funniest, most talented little kid on the planet.

Kwikus – This is the god who manipulates the calendar so that days, weeks and seasons magically disappear, and suddenly it’s Christmas– again.

Noxia — This is the god who finds joints and muscles we never knew we had and torments them with annoying little aches and pains.  This is punishment for all the times we were mean, thoughtless and rude when we were younger.  Get used to it!

Poof — The goddess of the unexpected fart.

Scritch – The god of the inappropriate itch.

Folus — The god of aggressive nose hair.

Wat – The god of selective hearing.  This god saves us from all the stuff we didn’t really want to hear in the first place.

Notagin — This is the most helpful of the gods.  He’s the one who protects us from all evil.  He keeps track of our experiences and steers us away from making the same stupid mistakes we made when we were kids.  We should never overlook Notagin, because old people who do, end up giving all their money to Nigerian princes or greedy grandchildren who have no honour.

Myosotia – Sometimes called the Goddess What’s-Her-Name, she takes proper names and puts them just out of reach.  She also hides small objects like keys in the very place we left them.  Oddly enough, Myosotia doesn’t bother with memories that are 20, 30 and even 40 years old — which remain crystal clear.

Metamorpho – This god transforms professional people like doctors, lawyers, accountants, police officers and even judges and politicians into children – who get younger and younger every year.

Kilomornow and his twin sister Saggeth – These two tricksters love practical jokes like shrinking clothes that hang in the closet, adding extra numbers to bathroom scales, distorting mirrors and moving body parts just a little lower to the ground.

But mostly, old people’s lives are governed by the Queen of the Gods:

Idonkare – The most powerful goddess of all, Idonkare spends her time lounging around with her indolent lover, Sowat, playing backgammon and eating nachos, yet her power is so awesome that merely invoking her name brings harmony and comfort to the universe.  For example:

“Looks like you lawn is gettin’ a little long there, Herb.”
“Idonkare!”

Or:

“It’s the trendiest restaurant in town and I’ve got reservations!”
“Idonkare!”

And, of course:

“Grandma, nobody wears a Hawaiian shirt and Lederhosen!”
“Idonkare!”

Summer Complaints (Again)

It’s not even midsummer and I’m grouchy already.  One more 50 calibre motorcycle screaming through my tranquil afternoon and I swear I’m going to ….  Actually, I’m probably not going to do anything except grumble about it in the privacy of my own head.  That’s the problem with summer: ya can’t do anything about it.  And now that I’m on the subject, here are a few other things — ya just can’t do anything about.

The price of airline tickets is never the same as the one they advertise. — According to some recent TV ads, I can go from Vancouver to London and back for $799.00 — except I can’t.  I guarantee you, if I show up at the airline ticket counter with $800.00, I will NOT — I repeat, NOT — get a return ticket to London and a dollar change.  Why?  ‘Cause there’s the fuel surcharge, the airport fee, the sales tax. the departure gouge, the baggage scam, the seat selection swindle, the in-flight menu con job and, I’m sure, the You’re-A-Dumbass-Tourist tax is hiding in there somewhere.  The truth is, by the time the airlines get finished with all their extra charges, the price of your $799.00 ticket is so outrageous that the only thing you’ll be able to afford to do, once you get to London, is beg in the streets!

Fast food never looks like the picture. — Take a look at a photograph of the Burrito Supremo, and it’s huge: fat and round and bursting with meat, peppers and melting cheese.  You can practically smell the fried onions.  Buy it and what you get is this sorry, deflated tube of hamburger and diced veggie surprise, wrapped in an dingy grey tortilla.  Pick it up and it sags in the middle and starts oozing orange out the bottom.  (Cheese sweat?)

Nobody but Stephen Hawking can understand a contemporary telephone plan. — Like everybody on this planet, I have a mobile phone and like everybody on this planet, the person who sold it to me gave me 20 minutes of gibberish and 30 seconds to make up my mind about “Which plan is right” for me.  King Solomon had more time to make a decision, and he had information he could understand.

And there’s more:

Emails that keep on giving, even though you’ve unsubscribed — daily — for the last two weeks.
The parent in front of you at the ATM who’s trying to teach their 4-year-old how to electronically renegotiate a mortgage.
The pedestrian who’s halfway across the street and can’t figure out whether to walk, run or hide from oncoming traffic.
Coffee drinkers who abandon their empty cups wherever and whenever the whim takes them.
Joggers and cyclists who insist on traveling side-by-side and driving anyone coming the other way into the weeds to get around them.  “Yeah, you’re healthier than I am.  Big wow!”
Wine snobs.
Trump haters who refuse to change the subject — even though you’ve told them 12 times that you’ve already heard what an idiot the guy is.

And finally:

There’s going to be somebody out there who’s more than willing to point out that these are all First World Problems. — Yeah, I know, and I’m sure you’re a better person than I am — but I’m hot and sweaty and I’m not hurting anybody.  Besides, admit it or not, sometimes, it just feels good to bitch.