Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Glove Box

Words seem to grow and change over time. Maybe we get tired of old words and think up new ones. Maybe it is a marketing ploy to employ new interest. Just maybe it is new thoughts on old subjects. I don’t know what it is but I refuse to think it is just because I’m old fashioned.

The child on the TV was told to go look in the glove box. Glove box? First of all, the glove ‘compartment’ was designed to hold gloves. It was just a little place to tuck away gloves that were worn daily when driving the ‘automobile’ to protect the hands in those open air cars. Nobody says automobile any more. Car. Three letters. Short and sweet. I remember when automobile was shortened to auto. Made sense. Shortened form of the word. So, from where did ‘car’ evolve. Cars were what followed the train engine which at one time was called a ‘locomotive’. Help! I’m caught in a word frenzy!!!

Maybe words are to be streamlined by a new generation. Maybe we are only allotted so many letters in a life time so the need to shorten and abbreviate becomes imperative. No longer does the old manual typewriter slowly pound out long words. Computers spit out words as quickly as we think them. No longer do we wait for food to bake. Instead we pop it into a little box and have hot food in minutes. Everything happens in a shorter amount of time. So, I’m thinking that our words need to keep up with the pace.

I even find that numbers are experiencing the same fate. Where I learned to add long lines figures carrying over numbers from the previous next column, my granddaughter adds by tens and uses formulas. My oldest granddaughter looks at me strangely when I try to show her long division. “That’s not how you do it, Grams.” Boy, I remember telling my parents the same thing. The time to do math has shortened as did the word arithmetic.

I wonder what will happen with following generations. If we are on a word limitation, perhaps mental telepathy will take over. Our brains will compute in new ways. Heck, we will commute in new ways.

A page once written is now typed. A compilation of daily thoughts is no longer a diary but a blog. I’m no longer a grandmother but a ‘grams’.

Writing has taken on a new face as well. My 8th grade English teacher, Normal Rhoades, would cringe at my sentences that no longer contain a subject and predicate. (I wonder if they use those same words now?) She would give me failing grades for the way I write for I write as I would talk. No longer do I need to worry about misspelled words; the computer checks my document for me. Normal would stand before me, hands in front of her, asking, “Pamela, can you explain how this can be a complete sentence without a noun and verb?” Surely I would buckle and conform.

I love this evolution of word. I like saying car instead of automobile (or as my grandfather would say, ‘machine’). I like placing my thoughts on a page as they appear instead of diagramming each sentence making them boring instead of alive.

If we are limited in the number of words we have available to us, I hope we continue to be creative and progressive. Still, there needs to be improvement on ‘glove box’. Food for thought.

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