As each new year dawns it is always challenging to predict what new seemingly double-speak words will be revealed by dictionary lexicographers—those uncelebrated human brain-trusts who catalog and then grade for dictionary-entry worthiness our latest “new” words.
It is especially important for senior citizens to stay up-to-date in order to avoid having their vocabulary “bahookies” left exposed to criticism. After all, bahookie (a person’s buttocks) was introduced as a new word way back in 1930. But, of course, we all knew and remembered that.
My good friends who have become experts at the play of Dominos need to know that “abdominoplasty” is not what is referred to when you score three times the number of points compared to your opponent during one play. Rather, it is the surgical operation involving the removal of excess flesh from the abdomen. This procedure may become necessary after large amounts of food are consumed during Domino tournaments.
Senior citizens may also want to remember that not all hand gestures involving the middle finger made by young drivers in a hurry are intended to be offensive. During the addition of new words to dictionaries in 1989, the term “air quotes” was introduced—meaning a gesture made by raising and flexing the index and middle fingers of both hands, used to call attention to a spoken word or expression. The young driver’s gesture may simply be an attempt to draw attention to the word or phrase just used to describe their interpretation of your driving skills.
According to a 1992 dictionary release of new words, if you are “pretexting” you are not revealing to someone that you were actually born before school books were discovered. Actually, you are presenting oneself as someone else to obtain private information. In some states this is quite illegal and may result in your presentensing—not to be confused with your early school days where single letters were challenging enough.
Senior citizens frequently experience some level of hearing loss as the aging process continues. That circumstance can make for some interesting interpretations of what has just been said. Not all words that sound like trunk, shrunk or drunk may be familiar to seniors. Say you happen to be out “clubbing” (modern-day not caveman-day interpretation) and you hear some dude refer to “crunk” … can you understand and relate to that? The word was first introduced in the 1990s and means a type of hip-hop or rap music characterized by repeated shouted catchphrases and elements typical of electronic dance music, such as prominent bass.
If you followed all of that, you’re really “bad.” Of course, that now means good. Then again, our “cool” was actually cold to our parent’s generation. We won’t even get into what “hot” is now.
Is it now appropriate for polite company to discuss a “wedge issue?” Perhaps you just casually pull the person aside and gently explain that the garment was not actually intended to assume that position on ones body. Not today you don’t—and not for the reasons you may be thinking. Today’s “wedge issue” is a very divisive political issue, regarded as a basis for drawing voters away from an opposing party whose supporters have diverging opinions on it.
Former or current West Coast senior citizens may recall the blockbuster music of the talented Beach Boys—including their song Surfer Girl. Now, there’s “shoulder-surfer” in the dictionary. Your first mental image of that new term might include a surfer girl riding the waves while standing on the shoulders of her boyfriend while he “hangs ten” over the edge of his surfboard. Think again. Shoulder-surfer refers to a person applying the practice of spying on the user of a cash-dispensing machine or other electronic device in order to obtain their personal identification number (PIN), password, etc.
The experts note that new words can “float” for long periods of time without being recognized. If you doubt that, just check out some of the words that I use to conclude this New Year’s dark energy that have been floating around for some time now.
Some senior citizen wing nuts actually enjoy visits to racinos where their portfolios diminish at rates similar to those found while exploring the new-age Texas Hold’em. Some even attend webinars while an upskilled zombie causes them havoc.
I guess that this pescatarian who has been accused of agroterrorism in his own garden will have to avoid future discussions of senior citizen blowback because of the elephant in the room.
For now, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy something obesogenic while you good readers consider extraordinary rendition for this subprime columnist.
© Submitted by Bob Grafe for publication on January 1, 2009.