A Milk Shortage

After making a cup of tea for somebody, they asked me if the cow had died.

Apparently I hadn’t put enough milk in to suit their tastes.



I heard somebody say “twattoo” recently.

I’d never heard the word before but knew what it meant instantly.

I won’t Sky+ it

A long time ago in a galaxy not far, far away – okay, it was this one – Star Wars was on TV and somebody wanted to watch it but was going out. So they “taped it.”

To this day, I’m still “taping” things off of the TV myself, even though the recording medium of magnetic tape died shortly after the dinosaurs did.

Even when I got a DVD recorder, I couldn’t bring myself to “record” stuff from the TV. I still “taped” everything. But I did it on TV.

And now we are in the age of digital and satellite TV. We can still record things. We just don’t do it to tape or disc. We record to another medium I’m not clever enough to understand or to explain. But I’m still “taping.”

Whatever new recording mediums come to us, I’ll never record anything.

But I might just “tape” something.

What is old?

How much time must elapse before something becomes old?

Is it all relative to how long we’ve been on this Earth?

“Here’s an old photo of me,” said a kid of 14. The photo was about 18 months old.

Should he have said, “Here’s a recent photo of me?”

Give it a what?

“I wonder if the new menu’s better than the last one?” my friend said.

“You’ve got to give it a whirl, at least,” I said

And that’s when it struck me. We say it so often when talking about trying new things, but what does it really mean?

I can only think that the expression might come from either dancing or fairground rides.

What’re your thoughts?

I was at work trying to describe to a fellow writer that someone was well-off.

They were, as I said, “Uh-FLU-uhnt.”

She laughed at me.

Once she composed herself, she said, “I’m sorry, don’t you mean “AFF-loo-uhnt?”

She told me that I was referring to “effluent,” as in sewage.

By my ear, that’s “EF-loo-uhnt.”

I can appreciate the miniscule difference – but even in that narrow gap, it sounds clear enough to me.

I took an extra year in Spanish in high school because I loved my teacher.

He was a former Army guy, ascerbic but witty, coach of the junior varsity boys’ basketball team and to correct my behavior would have me stand in a corner and contemplate the “transcendental dot of meditation” (though still requiring me to read my vocabulary assignment aloud like the rest of the class).

He also kept a container on his desk labeled “Potted Possum.” He loved perpetuating the naive belief among students that it was real.

In the end, I have to thank him, because he taught me valuable life lessons about how to deal with difficult people (meaning me) and helped test me out of foreign language in college (though I can’t say the same about having take remedial math).

In any case, I find today, almost two decades later, that his legacy continues.

I wish I could say that it meant I could speak fluent Spanish. I can’t, though I can generally make out basic written communication.

What I’m certainly left with is the ability to pronounce Spanish words.

When I read the name “Roberto” out loud, I say, “Roe-BARE-tow,” instead of “Ruh-bur-tow.”

I’m sure Roberto appreciates that.

But ancillary legacy is pronouncing English words – or in many cases, Americanized proper names for companies — as if they were Spanish words.

I just can’t help it in my mind when I read the sponsor name – an insurance company – given to the Seattle Mariners’ professional baseball stadium.

“Safeco Field.”

It’s “SAFE-coe.” And that’s the way I say it out loud.

But I doubt there will ever come a time when I don’t hear it in my head as “Sah-FAY-coe.”

Thanks, Coach McIntyre!


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