Huh?

I used to think I had a really good grasp of the English language. Now I’m not too sure. Things have changed too much in the slang department. Years ago, the stuff we said made sense. Like the word groovy. That made perfectly good sense and was easy to understand. You never used it unless you were trying to describe something incredibly cool. Cool as in fab or neat, not as in describing the temperature of something. Words we used didn’t need a whole lot of explanation.

I can’t say the same thing is true nowadays. Sometimes I take to extremes my efforts to find out what something means. Not that me taking anything to extremes should surprise you by now. One English language quandary happened during a Jack-in-the-box commercial. I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but it was the one about the spelling bee. The word they have to spell is Ciabatta. None of the kids can spell it until Jack’s son comes on stage. You can tell he’s Jack’s son because he has a big round white head and a pointed nose. Since Jack is advertising Ciabatta bread sandwiches, it would only make sense his son could spell it. It does make me wonder if there was a little cheating going on. The whole thing seems pretty coincidental to me.

After Jack’s son spells Ciabatta correctly, he flashes the peace sign. I really thought he was saying “beat that.” A friend of mine thought he was saying “peace out.” We argued over it for days. Marty finally wrote an e-mail to Jack. So did I. They answered him but not me. I guess they figured since they got two e-mails from San Antonio saying two friends were arguing, we both had to have the same idea to e-mail and they could just contact one of us. They actually called Marty on the phone, which made his day. Me they ignored. If I didn’t like that clown so much, I’d be really mad at him. And his son. At any rate, the answer was Jack’s son was saying peace out.

Okay, what does that mean? You can look up peace in the dictionary and you can look up out in the dictionary, but peace out is a mystery. Does that mean no more peace? Peace be gone or something? And why would Jack’s son not want peace? That doesn’t make much sense to me. I thought clowns, despite the bad rap they get, were supposed to be fairly nice. Not wanting peace seems mean.

Ed and I were talking to a friend the other day. He kept saying “word” in response to some comment. Huh? This had me totally stumped and our friend isn’t even related to Jack. Had either Ed or I said only one word, it would make sense. But since he was saying “word” in response to sentences, shouldn’t he have said “words?” In some cases, groovy would have been a better thing to say. But word?

I thought at first he might have assumed we were talking about something from the Bible. That would have made sense. Had either one of us said something profoundly religious, I could have understood it. But we hadn’t, so I didn’t. That might actually be kind of cool. Instead of saying Amen in church, we could just all say word! That would be terribly logical.

About the time I had given up on understanding him, he said “word up.” Okay, what the heck does that mean? I’m sure you realize by now that neither the hubby nor I wanted to appear totally out of it by asking him what he meant. We’re too cool for that. After considerable searching on the internet, I found out that “word” means agreement. “Word up” means agreeing with enthusiasm. Or something like that. There are so many different ways it can be used, I’m not sure anyone really knows. What would be so wrong with saying “You’re right?” Or how about “You’re so totally dead-on, you really rock, man!” You know, words that we could understand.

I wonder what would happen if an older trucker talking on a CB happened to start talking to a younger trucker on a CB. I imagine the conversation would go something like this:

“Hey, amigo, I’m in the Alamo city. I just passed an antenna farm.”

“Word!”

“Antenna. I said antenna farm. I’m going to see my ankle biter.”

“Word up!”

“Up where? What word?”

“Yo, man. Word.”

“Back ‘em up, man. What word is up?”

“Peace out!”

“Out where? Peace is out? I thought word was up.”

Right about this point in the conversation, I would imagine the older trucker would be a little grayer and not any wiser. He also wouldn’t be talking to anyone, because I’ve since found out that “peace out” means goodbye or I’m leaving. Unless he has access to the internet, he’s going to be totally clueless as to what his trucker buddy was trying to tell him. Which was that he thought it totally cool his friend was going to see his child. Logic tells me the whole conversation would have been easier to understand if people just spoke normal English.

Thank goodness the Bible is easy to understand. And just in case you can’t, there have been about a gazillion translations into easier-to-understand language. I personally prefer the King James Version best. Not necessarily because I’m a stickler for the “original” but because it’s prettier, in my opinion. There seems to be a poetic quality about it that makes it a beautiful book to read. If someone is preaching from a different version, I have realized a passage might mean something different than I thought, but I still like reading it in the King James Version best. What I’m waiting for is the slang, street version. I think Psalms 23 should be interesting, to say the least. Word?

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