April 2018

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The words, they are a'changin'

Our words change with our times. My church friend and her daughter told a story today of their recent experience in a drug store:

Customer (to a young woman who is a checker at the drug store): I'd like to buy a telephone. Can you tell me where to get one?
Checker: I don't know what that is. Ask the guy on  the floor. I'm sure he can help you.

Customer (to the guy on the floor, another young one): Excuse me, can you tell me where to find a telephone?
Worker: A what?
Customer : A telephone.
Worker: I don't know what that is.
Customer (holding her thumb to her ear and her pinkie to her mouth): You talk into a receiver like this, and someone talks back to you.
Worker: Oh, go down two aisles on your left.

This conversation reminds me of a conversation I heard in an elevator a few years ago. Two teenagers were talking, and I eavesdropped from the middle of their conversation:

Teenager #1: What's a record player?
Teenager #2: It's something about this big (she illustates the size of a breadbox with her hands.) Back in the day, people listened on records to music.
Teenager #2: (nods): What's a record?
Teenager #1: It's this plastic round disk that musicians recorded their music on. Sort of like CDs, only bigger.
Teenager #2 nods, and I get off of the elevator.

Then there was the first time that I felt significantly older than my high school students. Before class, they were quizzing each other for their American History test.
Student #1: Watergate.

Student 32: Some guys broke into a hotel room and stole some secrets.
I interrupt: "No! No! Watergate!" I open my eyes in surprise, and I gesture dramatically. "Watergate! It wasn't dull! It wasn't a history lesson! It was real life drama every night in front of the color t.v.!"
The students look patiently at me though I've interrupted their quiz. Sure that my outburst is over, Student #1 says, "Vietnam."

The words, like the times, they are a-changin'.

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