Almost daily, I am struck by the new words and phrases which manage to worm their way into the American vocabulary. They catch on and spread like wildfire through the media and the internet. Then suddenly you wake up one morning and you find yourself using them and you hang your head. (Miss Elizabeth Miller, our high school grammar teacher wouldn’t be happy.)
A few that come to mind are “feeding frenzy”, “going viral on the internet”, “falling over the fiscal cliff”, and it seems everyone on the little screen has become an “icon” for something or other. Such terms seem to be the “cool” things to sprinkle throughout a news report and that’s another thing. I wish the word “cool” would go away forever.
Have you noticed how politicians and celebrities being interviewed on television frequently exclaim “That’s a great question,” no matter how stupid and inane the question might be?
“Are you wearing underwear, senator?”
“Great question,” he responds with enthusiasm. “Do you mean today or yesterday.”
I think celebrities use the term to buy some time while they search for something intelligent to say. And they invariably conclude the interview with “At the end of the day…bla, bla,bla.”
It is true that my fellow Boomers have been known to invent new words when no other term seems to fit the situation. Case in point: I had a note from a friend a few days ago bemoaning the fact that he had finally become a “dult.” I love that. Not only does the word sound boring and middle agey, it reflects a certain amount of perfunctory preoccupation with mundane tasks like cleaning out the gutters, painting the mailbox and all the other niggling tasks that come with the territory as we mature.
A college chum mentioned to me that she is becoming downright “cluttery” since she was faced with her “empty nest.” Worried that may be the first step in becoming a hoarder, she’s determined to “nip it in the bud,” as Barney Fife loved to say back in the day. I’d never heard of a hoarder until the dawn of the 21st century.
One of the new terms which is particularly abrasive to me is the identification of a pregnant woman as one sporting a “baby bump.” Where does that leave those of us with post menopausal shift in “assets” if you get my drift?
There are a few new catch phrases which leave me confused, like that new car ad that mentions hash tags over and over. I have no idea what that means and why it’s being inserted into ad copy about a car. Look guys, there are still a lot of us boomers who don’t know a hash tag from a vacuum bag, and I wish marketers would give those over 40 a break and use coherent language.
When I checked my email inbox for the word of the day to which I subscribe, I couldn’t believe it is Procrustes (pro-CRUS-teez) which means a person imposing conformity without concern for individually. At the end of the day, that’s what I’ve been complaining about. Cool, huh?