’18 A To Z Challenge – W

Get Off My Lawn

Old Man

I write ‘old,’ because I am old, but also because I read even older writings when I was young.  I love the new technology (what I can understand of it), but I miss the grace, style and solemnity of bygone days, and bygone manners, and bygone speech.  When/because I was younger, I never had the opportunity to call someone a

Whippersnapper

Now that I am old enough to do so, life and language have moved on, and I have missed my chance.  I might as well speak of button-hooks, or buggy-whips, or Marcel hair treatments.  People would regard me even more strangely than they already do.

‘Whippersnapper’ is a word which has been used since the 17th century. The word can be used in two different contexts. One, it refers to a person who is very lazy and has no ambitions. The other context is used to denote young people who live on the streets and are indulged in wrong practices. However, the usage and meaning of the word changed over time. Now, it is used for a person who is very confident, or for a child who keeps questioning.

Nowadays, society moves so fast that many of us don’t have, or take, the time to actually say or write things.  OMG!  For those who deserve this epithet, (and they are numerous, and greatly deserving) I will have to settle for a firmly applied “Asshole,” or a solid smack with an appropriate acronym (PITA = Pain In The Ass), or Emoji. Thumbs Down

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Helicopter Parents

Helicopter

Helicopter parents, stop hovering and come in for a landing.  You’re not doing your children any good.

After a bit of anecdotal research, a local community service group is organizing Basic Life Skills seminars for youngsters this summer.  Parents who do everything for their children forget that they’ve never taught the kids how to do things for themselves.

A smart and accomplished 17-year-old neighbor did not know how to use a can opener.  An otherwise bright 15-year-old nephew tried to microwave a plate of spaghetti, with a fork in it.  A female Uni student singed her eyebrows off, when a baked potato exploded in her face.  She thought that the fork holes that her mother put in them were just for decoration.

One young lad used the dining room table as a makeshift bench, to cut a piece of wood, forgetting that, in cutting the board, he would also cut off a giant slice of the table.  His sister once called her dad to ask how she would know when water on the stove was boiling.  He hung up on her.

Courses will include
How To Iron Clothes.  Turns out that there’s more than one way to mess this up.  One college lad tried ironing his shirt while he was wearing it.  Another used the new couch as an impromptu ironing board, and melted the foam in two of the cushions.

How to set a table properly:  Also, how to wash dishes by hand, and load and unload the dishwasher – and what soap to use.  One woman says that a couple of college interns at her work have poured dishwashing detergent into the dishwasher.  “Bubble for miles!”

How to use a paper map:  One woman was driving her son across town to a soccer meet, when both their cell phones died.  They dug a street map out of the glove compartment and, with a little help from her, managed to get where they were going.

How to order food (like pizza) using a landline phone:  This will ensure that they know how to use the land line, how to politely order something over the phone, and how to interact with a delivery person, and calculate a tip.

How to mow the lawn:  Also how to identify/pull weeds, and plant/water flowers.

How to do the Heimlich on yourself:  There is nothing scarier than choking while you’re alone.

How to cut up common fruits and veggies:  And how to do it without requiring medical attention.  This course goes over basic knife skills – also, how to wash fruit and vegetables properly.

How to shop for groceries:  How to compare prices, the value of store brands, how to choose fresh produce, how to interact politely with a cashier, and how to bag the groceries without crushing the bread.  One woman waits in her car, and sends the kids in with money, and a list.

How to write – and mail – a thank-you note:  What to write beyond, “Thank you for the ______.”  How to address the envelope properly, write the return address, stamp it and mail it.  One office manager says she has college-aged interns who don’t know where to put the stamp.

How to do laundry:  What to wash in hot or cold, where to put the detergent, the magic of drying things slightly, then hanging them up (no ironing), how to fold clothes for a trip.  A young woman who moved to Arizona to attend University, was so befuddled by laundry, that she shipped it home – to Minnesota – by train.

If you haven’t taught your kids these things, and many others,

How to turn off water to an overflowing toilet
How to plunge said toilet
How to turn off water to an entire house
How to make a few simple meals
How to relax when you can’t sleep
How to be a good guest
How to politely address adults
How to recognise the smell of propane and natural gas, and what to do when you smell it
How to show good etiquette
How to resolve a dispute
How to make an important decision

it’s time that you started.  I’ll be here when you get back.

WOW #29

Fuck It

I was going to publish this post earlier, but I didn’t remember to.   😳  A previous A To Z was about the word “Forgettery.”  This one’s about the same thing, just with the slightly more upscale name of

OBLIVESCENCE

The act of forgetting Oblivescence dates from the late 19th century and is a later spelling of obliviscence, which dates from the late 18th century. The spelling oblivescence arose by influence of the far more common suffix -escence. The English noun is a derivative of the Latin verb oblīviscī “to forget,” literally “to wipe away, smooth over.” The Latin verb is composed of the prefix ob- “away, against” and the same root as the adjective lēvis “smooth.”

Oblivescence has such a rich, round, regal sound to it. Today’s modern society is so chock-full of need-to-know technical knowledge, that the history, pride and good manners of our more elegant past are being forgotten.  There was a time when you could call another man a liar without calling him a liar, by saying that his claim was ‘mendacity, Sir.

Today’s schoolchildren are not taught to add, subtract, multiply or divide. Rather, they are trained to use a calculator.  There’s one inside every computer and Smart phone. “Siri, how much is 12 times 17?” They are not taught cursive writing, but rather how to use a keyboard, or even a little touchscreen.  Kids have forgotten how to pick up and use pencils, pens and crayons, but will soon evolve powerful thumbs from texting.

We have forgotten how to debate, or even how to have a polite conversation with those who don’t totally agree with us. Society has forgotten good manners and tolerance.  We, as writers, should attempt to help others recall kind acceptance.  Remember what your Mother taught you; “Play nice with others!”   😀

Lost In The Urban Jungle

Department Store

In my little hometown, in the late 1940s, the selections in the two small, local, independent grocery stores were not great, and low-volume buying and shipping made prices a bit higher than in ‘the big city.’ My Dad suggested that we start driving 25 miles to the ‘giant metropolis’ of 10,000 people, and shop at the Loblaw’s store.

In our little blue-lawed town, stores closed at 6:00 PM, and there was no such thing as Sunday shopping. On Friday nights, the Loblaw’s stayed open until 9:00.  Dad would come home from work at 5, we’d have a quick supper, and be on the road by 6.

It became a routine. The choices were greater.  The lower grocery prices paid for the gas burned, and it was a family adventure.  There might even be enough left over to have some French fries from a ‘chip wagon.’

One warm July Friday night, we rolled up main street. Dad found a parking spot about a half a block from the store, and put a dime in a parking meter for an hour’s stay. Long before the advent of suburban malls, stores were ‘downtown.’

We walked to the Loblaw’s, did our shopping, and checked out, with some time to spare.  In the days of good manners and social restraint, shopping carts were not allowed out of the store onto main street.  All groceries had to be carried.

We had four large paper bags. I was 6 years old, and my brother was three. We weren’t going to carry any.  My Mother tucked two of the lighter ones in the crooks of her elbows, and my Dad hefted the rest.  When we exited the store, there were no hands free to guide us, so my Mom said to me, “You take your brother, and go on ahead to the car.”  So, leading him by the hand, off we set down an un-busy sidewalk.

We got to the (unlocked) car long before they did. In the days before air conditioned stores, the double doors of the store beside the car stood propped open.  Just as I was about to open the car, I heard ‘clickety-click, clickety-click.’  What was that sound?  Dragging him, we stepped over to the store doors and looked and listened.

This was not quite a department store, more like a 5 and 10, five times as big as the tiny Dime Store in my town.  There were sales-clerks in various spots, but no cash registers or money.  They had a something much like a pneumatic tube system, only made out of steel mesh.

All the price tags, and the customers’ money, were put into a 4” X 4” x 6” steel mesh car, with a little electric motor, and pushed into a drop-tube. Clickety-click, clickety-click, up it went, turned at the top, and clickety-click, clickety-click, ran around the store, and up into a cash office on a mezzanine level.  There, a clerk verified all totals, made change, and returned the little car along with a receipt.  An adjustable semaphore determined which station it would drop out at.

This was the sound that I’d heard. We, or at least techno-geek me, stared in awe.  The nearest clerk noticed us, and asked if we’d like to see it again. “Yes please!” She wrote a note that said, “I have two fascinated kids here.  Just return it.” and stuffed it up the tube. Clickety-click, clickety-click, up it went, around the room and up into the office.  Thirty seconds later, clickety-click, back it came.

She wasn’t busy, so she asked, “Wanna do it once more?” “Yes please!” She added, “One more time” to the note and, clickety-click, off it dashed again, like a 1950 slot-car and clickety-click, soon returned and popped out one more time.

Now…. Let’s step outside, and see what this looked like to our parents.  They’d sent two kids half a block on a main street sidewalk, in broad daylight, but when they got to the car, we weren’t there. Where the Hell did the kids go??! Had someone kidnapped us?  Had we got into the wrong car, and inadvertently been driven off?  Were we lost, and wandering the streets?

They quickly stowed the groceries, and began searching. Up and down the street, asking random pedestrians if they’d seen two little boys – back to the Loblaw’s – Dad went one way, Mom went the other.  They finally returned to the car in a panic….and we calmly walked out of the store.  We hadn’t been more than twenty feet away, all the time, but there had been no reason for them to think we’d gone inside.

Too happy, to give me shit, Mom still impressed on me that I should never do such a thing again. And while we weren’t at the car, the dime’s worth of parking had expired, and an eagle-eyed meter maid had given Dad a parking ticket to pay.  No French fries that night.  I didn’t get lost again for 8 years, when I got swept up in another school group touring a Niagara power station, and had to explain to the Principal, why I wasn’t there for our head-count.  😳

 

Cultural Clash

Guy Fawkes

In each minority group, there are always one or more fanatics who can lead themselves, their faction, and society, into trouble. It’s what got Guy Fawkes tortured and executed.

Here in Kitchener, in Toronto, and in many other cities, the (What are they calling themselves today?? Negroes?  Blacks?  Colored?  African- Americans/Canadians?) are upset, and calling for an end to ‘Carding,’ – random stops of people by police, to identify themselves.

Black spokesmen claim that this practice unfairly focuses on people of color, yet statistically, it is ‘people of color’ – usually young black males – who are proven to commit more crimes, especially against other Negroes, than white folks.

The Toronto Police Force has CROs – Community Relations Officers – who hang out in various schools, helping out, coaching or refereeing sports, and generally showing that the Police are ‘good guys’. Black citizens’ representatives demanded that they be removed, because black children felt threatened, harassed and oppressed.  If you don’t do the crime, you won’t do the time.

Black Lives Matter. All lives matter, including the black, and the white, cops who are trying to protect all the population.  In Toronto, a rabble-rousing female spokeswoman for BLM, has high-jacked this year’s Gay Pride Parade.  It’s unclear just how she gained control – perhaps sheer volume.

At first, she and her cabal – and these aren’t even home-grown Negroes; they’re immigrants – demanded that the police not be allowed to march in the parade. After a large public hue and cry of protest, the demand has been modified.  The police may march as a group, but will not be allowed to wear their uniforms – symbols of authority and control.  A similar ‘activist’ has exacted a similar demand in Winnipeg.

I recently took the daughter shopping. I often check out through the ‘12 Items Or Less – Express lane’.  This day, I only had 1 item, but the daughter had 16 or 18.  In all honesty and fairness, we decided to use a regular lane.  Besides the Express, there were only 2 open.  The line from one extended back into the bread department, but the other….  I could see a man at the front with 2 or 3 items.  Behind him were only two women, both like the daughter, with a few items on the bottoms of their carts.

Nearby, jammed against the rack with the gum, candy, and National Enquirers, was another, fully-loaded cart, but no-one around. I motioned at it, and raised an eyebrow.  The daughter shrugged, and we quickly got in line behind the second woman.  The man at the front cashed out.  We moved up.  When the first woman’s items were almost all scanned, the second started to unload her stuff, and we moved up again.

Now, a 20ish black football player showed up and grabbed the cart.  He started to push toward the checkout, and the daughter moved the front of her cart a bit, so that he wouldn’t drive it into her.  When we didn’t move any further than that, he looked at me, pointed to the checkout, and said, “I was there.” I replied, “Yes, you were – then you abandoned your cart, blocking people, and went away, to do some more shopping.”  “I wasn’t shopping. I just went to get some more items.”
“THAT’S SHOPPING!”

“Well, I don’t think I should have to stand and wait. Your wife was going to let me in line”  “She’s my daughter, and she’s handicapped.  She doesn’t want to stand in line and wait for you.  You’re a big, strong, healthy guy, (I pointed at his tree-trunk legs.) you can do it.

“Oh, she’s handicapped?? I didn’t notice.”  The daughter said, “And the big shiny crutch didn’t give you an idea??”, and shook it at him.  Now he tried a different tack. “I’m going to tell you something.” “No shit!  Could I stop you?” “I’m from Jamaica; you know what I’m saying?” “Sometimes!  Vaguely!”  (That went right over his head.)

“You people say, (What people?  White people?) that Canada is a welcoming country, and Canadians are kind and well-mannered, but I see people swearing at the clerk at Tim Horton’s, and arguing with the checkouts here, because there’s a back-up, and they have to wait.” I said, “That’s probably because of guys like you, who butt into line and hold things up.”  Game!  Set!  Match!

What a case of creeping entitlement! If you want to be welcomed by kind, well-mannered Canadians, you gotta show some respect and good manners of your own.  Not all of us are apologising doormats, and some of us do not suffer arrogant fools well.

Workin’ Like A Dog

sdc10369

A local business was looking for office
help. They put a sign in the window,
stating the following: “Help Wanted.
Must be able to type, must be good with
a computer and must be bilingual. We
are an Equal Opportunity Employer.”

A short time afterwards, a dog trotted
up to the window, saw the sign and went
inside. He looked at the receptionist
and wagged his tail, then walked over
to the sign, looked at it and whined.

Getting the idea, the receptionist got
the office manager. The office manager
looked at the dog and was surprised, to
say the least. However, the dog looked
determined, so he led him into the
office. Inside, the dog jumped up on
the chair and stared at the manager.
The manager said “I can’t hire you.
The sign says you have to be able to
type.” The dog jumped down, went to
the typewriter and proceeded to type
out a perfect letter. He took out
the page and trotted over to the
manager and gave it to him, then jumped
back on the chair. The manager was
stunned, but then told the dog “The sign
says you have to be good with a
computer.”

The dog jumped down again and went to
the computer. The dog proceeded to
enter and execute a perfect program,
that worked flawlessly the first time.
By this time the manager was totally
dumb-founded!

He looked at the dog and said “I realize
that you are a very intelligent dog and
have some interesting abilities.
However, I still can’t give you the
job.” The dog jumped down and went to a
copy of the sign and put his paw on the
sentences that told about being an Equal
Opportunity Employer. The manager said
“Yes, but the sign also says that you
have to be bilingual”.

The dog looked at the manager calmly and
said “Meow”.

***

And now for a ‘real’ funny bilingual joke.

Years ago, Charles DeGaulle of France visited Canada. He is still remembered for his ill-mannered and inflammatory shout from a Quebec City hotel window, of, “Vive le Quebec libre.” (Long live Free Quebec.)

Before he arrived, applications were accepted for a post as his driver, to chauffeur him wherever he went.   Aside from the usual requirements, strength, intelligence, firearms and martial arts abilities, driving and map skills, the successful applicant had to be bilingual.

The job was given to Angus MacKinnon, of Nova Scotia, who fluently spoke both English….and Scottish/Canadian Gaelic.

***

WOW #8

Dictionary

DUDGEON

Definitions for dudgeon
a feeling of offense or resentment;
anger:
We left in high dudgeon.

Origin of dudgeon
1565-1575
Dudgeon entered English in the 1560s and is of uncertain origin.

I’ve always liked this word, and was happy to see it pop up. It harks back to a gentler, classier, more mannerly age, where you could show your utter loss of patience with a person or a social situation without throwing a snit, or a dismissive, valley-girl, “Whatever…” The last person to stalk off in high dudgeon may have been Scarlet O’Hara.

I remembered that, in the next town, there was a family named Dudgeon, so I looked the name up.

Last name: Dudgeon

This interesting surname has two distinct possible origins. First it may be the patronymic form of the male given name Dodge, a pet form of Roger. Hrothgar was an Anglo-Saxon name deriving from the elements “hroth” meaning fame and “gar” a spear, Roger, becoming a favourite form from the time of the Domesday Book of 1086 onward. It may also come from the obsolete word “dudgeon”, a wood used in making the handles of knives and daggers etc. and would have been an occupational surname for a turner or cutler. The surname is first recorded in the early half of the 14th Century, (see below). In the modern idiom the name is found as Dodgen, Dodgeon, Dodgin and Dudgeon. Read more: http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Dudgeon#ixzz4ZTie2NV6

It’s fascinating, (at least it is for me) to see the development of this name from Hrothgar, to Roger, to Dodge, to Dudgeon. It was also another reminder to me, not to rely on only one source of reference.

Dictionary.com claims the word entered the English language in the 1560s, and the origin is uncertain. SurnameDB on the other hand, makes it a couple of centuries – as much as 500 years, older, and gives the meaning as a type of wood used to make knife handles.

I’d like to believe the ‘knife-making’ origin for this word, because, a thousand years ago things weren’t quite as classy and restrained. People who were in a high dudgeon (nobody’s ever in a low dudgeon) tended to take care of their own problems, often with a dagger, without calling in the Federal Commission On Political Correctness, because their little feelings were hurt.

Just ‘cause I like you, here’s a link to look at some of the Art-type Daggers I’ve seen at knife shows.

Thanx for stopping in. I’ll have more words later.   😀