Ancient-SpeakI had the most delightful conversation of the semantical kind with my middle daughter, Sarah, and my mother's friend, "J" (the one who is classy and beautiful, but swears like a grizzled sea merchant) tonight. It went something like this:
Telephone: Ring Ring
"J" the Grizzled Sea Merchant: Hey.
"J" the Grizzled Sea Merchant: So, I'm going to be in town Saturday morning, will call when I get settled.
[Delete unimportant chitchat and personal doodads]
"J" the Grizzled Sea Merchant: Gawd, remember how thin I was? Gawdjesus, fucking hell, now I'm a goddamned dirigible!
Me: Did you just say, "dirigible"?
"J" the Grizzled Sea Merchant: Yeah, you know, a blimp?
Me: I know that! It's just that I'm a bit stunned that you used the word "dirigible." I mean, how old are you, really? Ninety-seven?
"J" the Grizzled Sea Merchant" [sputtering] Wha...? [laughs] C'mon, what's wrong with "dirigible"?
Me: Dude, if you have to ask, then it's pointless for me to carry on this line of conversation.
After I hung up, my daughter, who'd been listening, asked why I was laughing so hard, and when I explained to her that "J" was using Ancient-Speak, and with NO SHAME WHATSOEVER, she said, "Ooooh! I get it! It's like when Great Grandma Spinelli says 'Davenport' instead of 'couch,' right?"
We then proceeded to roll about the place laughing hysterically at the many examples of Ancient-Speak that have been foisted upon our modern ears by various teachers, grandparents, and an assortment of curmudgeonly neighbors, words such as:
Icebox (Ancient-Speak for refrigerator)
Duvet (Ancient-Speak for comforter)
Post (Ancient-Speak for mail, as in "I'm going to put the letter in the post before three shakes of a lamb's tail!"
Parlor (Ancient-Speak for living room)
Land Sakes! (Ancient-Speak pertaining to great surprise or disappointment)
And on it went, until we both wept copious tears of pure, word-related joy.
Jeepers, how I love the English language!