“I guess we are all just a bunch of pussies lost in the big city.”
“I am what I eat.” I responded.
This was a verbatim conversation I had with my dad while on a trip to Chicago. I was 8.
When we are young certain words stick because of who said them, or the response they received. I didn’t know what this meant, but I remember a lifeguard at the pool making this quip and everyone laughed. I wanted to be funny too. The response I got was shock.
We use so many words inaccurately by definition, but have done so in such a consistent manner that they have become contextually accurate.
Obviously the word “gay” comes to mind. Once used as a term to describe someone showing a merry lively mood or happy, it now refers to someone’s sexual orientation. It is also used as a derogatory word to describe anything essentially “not cool”.
“Gay” is not the only word that has swapped definitions from positive to negative or vice versa.
“Awful” used to mean “full of awe” or “inspiring wonder”, positive to negative.
“Bully” was originally used as an endearing term used for loved ones, another positive to negative.
Calling someone “Nice” was at one point the equivalent of telling someone they are a fool, negative to positive.
Most of these meanings changed a long time ago, but we have a few words currently used with dual meanings at opposite ends of the spectrum, and I wonder about their future.
For instance “sick” and “ill” have become slang terms for anything really cool (also two meanings) and if those are to be removed from the negative category as in “afflicted with poor health or disease” and only used as in “great or amazing”, then what are we going to call actual sick or ill people in the future?
“Spam” is still a disgusting meat, how long until that canned snack is gone and “spam” is only your unwanted messages?
Obviously there are lots of other words that fall into this category, and maybe I would need to complete my time machine to see how this plays out, but words are getting new meanings astronomically faster as our communication lines have sped up. Some really cool kid in Portland could say “This hamburger is bugs!” as he demolishes it with a smile during his 7 second Vine video, and now “bugs” is the new “awesome”.
Basically, I don’t want to feel like an 8 year old again, which at my age equates to not wanting to feel aged or out of the loop. I want to know all meanings of words and the context in which they are said, you know, so I don’t feel like such a old fart.
Click on Inigo Montoya for other interesting words……