We Need National Names

As the 21st century evolves, nationalism is becoming a dirty word.  Pride in one’s country is considered déclassé at best and downright racist at worst.  What a crock of crap!  Since when did self-esteem became synonymous with hostility?  God, we live in useless times!  Yet there are tons of people who want to do away with these “stereotypical labels.”  Yeah, yeah, yeah!  We’re all God’s children, artificially separated by imaginary political boundaries.  [Heavy sigh!]  The last time I ate that pie-in-the-sky, I was twelve.  Since ancient times, people have identified things by the places they come from — things like Persian carpets, Greek fire and Mongolian barbeque.  It’s jargon.  It gives us tons of information.  It’s doesn’t carry a judgement call.  Let me demonstrate.

When I was a kid, there was a cool joke that swept the neighbourhood.
“How do you make a Venetian Blind?”
“Poke his eyes out!”
This is a funny, but it simply doesn’t work with any other city.  There are all kinds of things like this.  For example:

A German Shepherd is a dog, whereas a Swiss Shepherd is Heidi’s grandfather.

Russian Roulette is a game you don’t really wanna play, but if you have enough money, regular roulette can be kinda fun.

I don’t think the Beatles song Norwegian Wood would have had the same impact if the refrain was “Isn’t it good? / Yugoslavian wood.”

The French are particularly good at just stealing stuff and saying it belongs to them.  Things like French toast, French manicure, French horn, French press, French braids, French beans and, obviously, French fries.  None of these are even French, BTW, but the entire world knows them by that name.  Remember when the Americans tried to change French fries to Freedom fries and came off lookin’ like total idiots?  And, of course, there’s the French kiss which, I can tell you from experience, is probably French, cuz it involves an awful lot more tongue than most people are used to.

Plus, some words are just shorthand.

People drink Scotch, not “a blended malt liquor from the northern part of the British Isles.”

For Christmas dinner, you trot out the good china, not “the very best dinnerware.”

And when you and the boyfriend are off to the beach you wear a Bikini, not an “obscenely skimpy, two-piece swimming costume.”  Meanwhile, he’s wearing Bermuda shorts, not “frumpy dad pants that make his ass look tired.”

A Singapore Sling is a drink.  A Chicago sling is probably what you use when the loan shark breaks your arm.

A Brazilian Wax is a cringe-worthy beauty affectation, but English wax is just what’s left over after the candles burn down.

Turkish Delight is a delicious snack you want to put in your mouth. America cheese? – not so much.

And it goes on

There are animals: Shetland ponies, Labrador retrievers and Bengal tigers.  Drinks: a Manhattan, Long Island Iced Tea and a Moscow Mule.  Foods: Belgium Waffles, Swedish Meatballs, Greek Salad, Baked Alaska and Chicken Kiev.

Did you know the Ebola virus was named for the Ebola River?

This stuff is everywhere.

But here is one example that categorically proves just how important national distinctions are:

American Football is two teams of large men wearing helmets and extensive padding, playing a game with a ball, using a standard set of rules.  Australian Football is a couple of street gangs in short pants, running around a pasture, trying to murder each other.

I rest my case!

Job Titles That Really Aren’t!

Like it or don’t, folks, titles are important.  What you’re called dictates how others treat you.  For example, when I worked in radio (yeah, I’m that old) there was always at least one person who occupied a desk, did the typing, answered the phone, took notes, ran errands, etc., etc., etc.  She (and in those days it was usually a she) was called the executive producer.  She wasn’t a secretary because secretaries were paid by the hour and got overtime, whereas executive producers were on salary and could work all the hours that God made — at no extra charge.  It was a tricky/dicky thing to do, but the harsh reality was (and still is) personally and professionally, executive producer packs a lot bigger punch than secretary does.  So, many young women took the pay cut and added the prestige to their social life and the title to their resume.

These days, we live in a world of degrees, diplomas and certificates, so it’s a little more difficult to call yourself something without a piece of paper to back up your claim.  However, it’s not impossible.  Here are just a few examples of job titles that look as though they carry some credibility but really don’t mean anything.

Nutritionist – Apparently, this is not a professional designation like dietician.  Anybody can call themselves a nutritionist — even if they advocate eating cheeseburgers and fries four times a day.  The truth is some nutritionists have some training, but the majority have either just read or just written a trendy food book and haven’t any real scientific knowledge about what the human body needs to keep rolling.

Life Coach – The difference between an ordinary person and a life coach is – uh – nothing.  The qualifications a life coach needs are – uh – none.  And the only ability essential to being a life coach is – uh — convincing you that they are smarter than you are.

English Teacher – There are many schools around the world that will hire you just because English is your native language.  In most cases, these aren’t “real” schools, and the money is ridiculous low — but they will pay you.  Or you can just show up in a medium-sized village somewhere in the back of beyond and start charging people for English lessons.

Preacher/Evangelist – This is one of those weird ones that only works if you’re not associated with a recognized religion.  As long as you don’t claim to represent anybody but yourself, you can preach hellfire and brimstone — or eternal salvation — to anyone who cares to listen.  You can even charge them for the privilege!  However, once you start presiding over weddings and miracles, you’re going to draw some serious attention from local law enforcement.

Tour Guide – Unlike travel agents, tour guides don’t need any qualifications.  All you need to do is point at things, pronounce the names properly and pause long enough for pictures.  If you know a little history – bonus!  If not, call it “Hidden History,” and make it up.  After all, Marie Antoinette might very well have been a lesbian.

But my absolute favourite (and I’m thinking about doing this myself) is:

NBA Free Agent – The National Basketball Association has virtually no rules about who can play in the league.  You have to be male and over 18 years old.  That’s it!  So, in order to become an NBA free agent, all you have to do is inform the league — in writing — that you consider yourself eligible for the draft.  Bingo!  You’re an NBA free agent.  (Now, that would look really good on my business cards!)

What’s In A Name?

names

As the 21st century evolves, nationalism is becoming a dirty word.  Pride in one’s country is considered déclassé at best and downright racist at worst.  What a crock of crap!  Since when did self-esteem became synonymous with hostility?  God, we live in useless times!  Yet there are tons of people who want to do away with these “stereotypical labels.”  Yeah, yeah, yeah!  We’re all God’s children, artificially separated by imaginary political boundaries.  [Heavy sigh!]  The last time I ate that pie-in-the-sky, I was twelve.  Since ancient times, people have identified things by the places they come from — things like Persian carpets, Greek fire and Mongolian barbeque.  It’s jargon.  It gives us tons of information.  It’s doesn’t carry a judgement call.  Let me demonstrate.

When I was a kid, there was a cool joke that swept the neighbourhood.
“How do you make a Venetian Blind?”
“Poke his eyes out!”
This is a funny, but it simply doesn’t work with any other city.  There are all kinds of things like this.  For example:

A German Shepherd is a dog, whereas a Swiss Shepherd is Heidi’s grandfather.

Russian Roulette is a game you don’t really wanna play, but if you have enough money, regular roulette can be kinda fun.

I don’t think the Beatles song Norwegian Wood would have had the same impact if the refrain was “Isn’t it good? / Yugoslavian wood.”

The French are particularly good at just stealing stuff and saying it belongs to them.  Things like French toast, French manicure, French horn, French press, French braids, French beans and, obviously, French fries.  None of these are even French, BTW, but the entire world knows them by that name.  Remember when the Americans tried to change French fries to Freedom fries and came off lookin’ like total idiots?  And, of course, there’s the French kiss which, I can tell you from experience, is probably French, cuz it involves an awful lot more tongue than most people are used to.

Plus, some words are just shorthand.

People drink Scotch, not “a blended malt liquor from the northern part of the British Isles.”

For Christmas dinner, you trot out the good china, not “the very best dinnerware.”

And when you and the boyfriend are off to the beach you wear a Bikini, not an “obscenely skimpy, two-piece swimming costume.”  Meanwhile, he’s wearing Bermuda shorts, not “frumpy dad pants that make his ass look tired.”

A Singapore Sling is a drink.  A Chicago sling is probably what you use when the loan shark breaks your arm.

A Brazilian Wax is a cringe-worthy beauty affectation, but English wax is just what’s left over after the candles burn down.

Turkish Delight is a delicious snack you want to put in your mouth. America cheese? – not so much.

And it goes on

There are animals: Shetland ponies, Labrador retrievers and Bengal tigers.  Drinks: a Manhattan, Long Island Iced Tea and a Moscow Mule.  Foods: Belgium Waffles, Swedish Meatballs, Greek Salad, Baked Alaska and Chicken Kiev.

Did you know the Ebola virus was named for the Ebola River?

This stuff is everywhere.

But here is one example that categorically proves just how important national distinctions are:

American Football is two teams of large men wearing helmets and extensive padding, playing a game with a ball, using a standard set of rules.  Australian Football is a couple of street gangs in short pants, running around a pasture, trying to murder each other.

I rest my case!