Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Journal of a Living Lady #268

Journal of a Living Lady #268

Nancy White Kelly

The generation gap is real. If this is the day of the X or Y generation, then I must fall around letter M on the alphabetical time line. Our sons, in their teen years, would have classified Buddy as an E, one notch beyond the dinosaur age.

Nothing shows our age more than our conversation. While growing up, my own mother used puzzling phrases that dumbfounded me.  What did she mean when she said you can’t get blood out of a turnip? Everybody knew that turnips didn’t bleed.

Most of her maternal sayings or proverbs eventually became a part of my language. No doubt these strange sayings confounded my own children. How would they have known that when a dog doesn’t hunt, something doesn’t fly? And that we weren’t talking about birds.

There were, however, bird phrases. How could a child understand what “a bird in the hand" implied or why one bird securely held is worth more than two loose tweeties in a shrub bush? Did our boys actually believe that a little birdie told us secrets? I doubt it.

Drop in a bucket. Fish out of water. A sow’s purse. The list goes on.

How did my dad know that Job had a turkey or that he was poor? What was an ace doing in a hole? New brooms sweeping clean? No wonder I grew up linguistically dysfunctional. Being saturated in southern culture probably didn’t help either.

Mash a button. Cut on a light. Fixing to go. Wanna come.

In the scheme of things, language evolution is minor in comparison to culture change. Can you imagine our war era parents getting a preliminary glimpse of 21st century with its torn jeans and backward baseball caps?

If alive today, what would our conventional parents say about nose rings, tattoos, carnival-colored hair and raunchy hip-hop?

“No problem?”  

Sure. When pigs fly or hell freezes over.

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