A Horse By Any Other Name

Why was it that some folks frequently butchered names of persons, places, and things?

For example, “Hokyo,” instead of Tokyo, “Thighland, instead of Thailand. An older couple in a restaurant, referred to jalapeno peppers, as “Joplins.” Perhaps, it was a way to make the unfamiliar make sense.

Foreign words are perhaps the easiest to stumble over.  Some French words are a mystery to me.  I’m most familiar with American English–as it applies to someone raised in the Midwest.

Something as personal as someone’s name, could be unfamiliar.  It’s less embarrassing to ask how it’s pronounced, rather than mess it up completely.

Those raised in other parts of the country, called water fountains “bubblers;” referred to carbonated soft drinks as “pop” or “soda pop;” called grocery shopping carts, “buggies.”

If in doubt do as the locals do.  Although, a hardware store caller mystified me, when working there.  She asked for “moronic acid.”  Upon further examination, she wanted muriatic acid–a heavy-duty cleaning product.

Redd Foxx, in the TV show, “Sanford and Son,” called hors d’oeuvre, “horse divers.”  It was comedic butchery, and a deliberate put-down of French cuisine.

A horse is still a horse, no matter what it’s called.  No matter where it’s from.


coneheadsPolitically correct speech spun out of orbit a long time ago.  In Seattle, Washington, influential do-gooders, masquerading as language police, discussed “what ifs.”  An internal city memo, proposed banning certain words, that could be misconstrued or misapplied.  The word “citizen,” banned, because it could possibly offend non-citizens.  “Why not call them residents?” …Was suggested.  It’s not known whether or not there’d been any non-citizen complaints.  Another banned term was “brown bag” (as in brown bag lunch).  “Brown bag” could be construed as offensive to certain minority groups.  …Alternative acceptable words–“sack lunch,” and “lunch and learn.”

Meanwhile, we’re destroying our language bit by bit.  Our remaining wordings will be hopelessly dull–like warehouse inventory data sheets.  We’ll be completely gender neutral–left with euphemisms, happily dancing around, what, we were really trying to say;  secure in the knowledge, that no one has been, or could possibly ever  be, offended.  Restricted, sanitized syntax, could then be compared to “Conehead” “robot-like” family conversations on past episodes of “Saturday Night Live.”

Fellow earthlings, take precautions, watch your language, while incinerating “protein patties” in your outdoor backyard living space this weekend.  You never know who could be listening.  Don’t forget to procure the “starched planes,” (hamburger buns), on which to place said “protein patties,” and lay in mass quantities of your favorite chilled beverage.  Although, “Beldar,” patriarch of the Conehead family unit, preferred “Blatz” beer–it’s really your choice, fellow earthlings.

Memo to the “language police”–stay away from hardware and auto parts stores!  They’re my last bastions of sanity in this “touchy-feely,” “sensitivity training gone mad,” world.  Therein lies a plethora of electrical and plumbing fittings, along with auto parts, that definitely are not “gender-neutral.”

I am speaking about gender-specific terminologies that succinctly describe how components fit together and their relationships to each other, without using a bushel basket full of words.  To change nomenclature would be a crime.  I would be highly offended–if anyone cares.