Reaching Out to You ☺☻☼

The other day I received a telephone call from an office girl of an old employer. According to this girl, my old employer asked her to "reach out" to me. I asked her if he was drowning. The only time I've known anyone to have to reach out for someone else is when they were in danger, probably of drowning. She said, "No." I told her, "Then he didn't ask you to reach out. He asked you to call me." The notion that I didn't appreciate her choice of words baffled her. She couldn't stretch her mind to reach the concept of speaking accurately.

When I was a child, you reached for things. You reached conclusions. You reached destinations as in, "Yes! We're there now! Stop asking!" When you "reached out" it was a plaintive, last ditch effort to save yourself from some horrible fate.

You also never asked someone to, "Reach me that towel." If you could reach the towel, you grabbed it and handed it to the person who needed it.

Apparently, the impact of "reaching out" has gone the way of "epidemic". Soon we'll need a new word for the actions of someone clawing at life because the expression that we used to use now means "call".

Have you noticed what happened to the word "epidemic"? Its root is epi ‘upon’ + demos ‘the people’ and for centuries it was good enough to describe the effect of the Black Plague which killed about 20% of the European population. But then everything became an epidemic to the point that the word lost its meaning. So, a new word had to be created. That word was "pandemic" and it means the same thing as epidemic but its new and sparkly and has a minty taste.

That dastardly swine flu or H1N1 pandemic has killed over 18,000 people worldwide since 2009. Now I don't want to sound callous, because untimely death is tragic, but 18,000 people is about %0.0003 of the world's population. I don't even know if that small percentage is even valid enough to be considered as directly attributable to H1N1. But we got a new word to describe something much less horrendous than the Black Plague under the guise of making it seem much more horrible. Why? Follow the gold, which is another topic.

People, the word epidemic may not be trendy but it's sufficient. Quit making stuff up to be trendy!

Here's another example. Decimate. It means reduce by 10%. It does not mean destroy, ravage, or expunge. "Injuries have decimated the Cowboys." They have not, Chris Collinsworth! They have doubly and trebly decimated the Cowboys! When 1 in 10 people are hurt, the team is decimated. When 3 in 10 people are hurt, it's past the point of mere decimation.

The use of plurals is going the way of the dodo, too. Cannon used to be singular and plural, as in, "Cannon to left of them, cannon in front of them," and NOT "CannonS to left of them, cannonS in front of them," Now, there are cannons, with an "s". I've even heard "fishes" and "cactuses" and "octopuses"! It's fish, cacti, and octopi! It's is also deer, passers-by, mothers-in-law, attorneys general, and courts martial. The word for more than one deer is deer, for more than one passer is passers, more than one mother is mothers, more than one attorney is more than one too many, and more than one court is courts.

And when you reach out to me, you expect charity because you're pitiable... or you don't know English or you think you're being cute.

Or maybe you think that advertisements and product slogans use English properly as in, "Reach out and touch someone." That's like using rap albums as spelling dictionaries. Ads rarely contain proper English. "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should." Like what? The word "like" is used to compare to dissimilar objects. "Winston tastes good AS a cigarette should," is proper. But it just doesn't have that same flow, I guess.

"Crunchier?" It's either crunchy or it's not. It's not crunchy-er. "Cheesier?" What does that mean? More like cheese? Do you know how many different tastes and subtleties there are in cheese? Neither does anyone else. The purpose of advertising is to make you remember the product for better or worse. So, even if the memory is a bad memory, the ad is unfortunately successful because the product being advertised sets itself apart from its competitors.

Apple's "Think different" campaign put me off of Apple for the rest of my life. I sent them an e-mail asking if Apple ever intended on providing a grammar checker for their employees.

As long as I'm on a roll, let's introduce other nonsense expressions. "It's all good," comes to mind. WHAT'S all good? What is "it"? Is it life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Is it the fact that you were humiliated but now everything is reconciled? It is NOT all good! Until the Second Coming, it will never be ALL good. When you say, "It's all good," to me, I have no idea what you mean. It makes no sense. It does sound like a blow-off, though.

And speaking of blow-offs, how about, "Let's agree to disagree." This is infuriating! What arrogant, self-centered, conceited, individual would use such an expression? Basically it says, "I'm superior to you and speaking another word to you is a second of my precious life wasted." THAT'S what that says!

It's as annoying as rules and laws that are, "For your protection." Can anyone not hear this and call BS on the spot? Like at a bank, when a bank does anything, and I mean AN-Y-THING, with me in mind, THEN it's all good. The rules and laws are to cover the collective backsides of the group making the rules and laws. Not only that, they recognize that they are incompetent and have forced you to comply with their attempt to protect themselves. Usually, this means that you are being hung out to dry so that they can deny any culpability.

Remember when people would "ping" other people? Who were these people and why did they think that pinging was appropriate? Does ping sound like high tech to you? "Oh yes, the machine that goes PING!" That's kind of the source. A ping is a sound wave sent out to activity ascertain an object's position. That was what the original ping was used for. Submariines actively pinged to ascertain what underwater objects were nearby. The term was pilfered by the internet. Much later, someone decided that PING should be an acronym and forced it to mean Packet InterNet Groper. So when someone pings other people they're...groping them? It makes pinging as a euphemism for contacting someone that much more...inappropriate and seedy.

Ping has fallen by the wayside to an extent, but now we're stuck with "hashtag". The symbol # is no longer a pound sign; it's a hashtag. Must be trendy to sound sooo techno-savvy. At least 95% of the people who use the word hashtag have no idea what it means. To them, it's a different way of referring to a pound sign. They should just say, "pound sign." Maybe I'm being elitist here, but don't say, "hashtag" unless you know what a hashing algorithm is. If the question, "Do you want to use an absolute index or a hash sum?" means nothing to you, don't use the word hashtag!

Do you want to be trendy? Try this one on - 3Q. It's Chinese internet speak for an English expression. The Chinese word for 3 is "san" so 3Q is san-Q or "Thank you". (The Chinese words for "Thank you" are "Xie xie" pronounced "Shay shay" or to be goofy and make the pronunciation French, "Chez chez".)