Good morning neighbor! I’ve been struggling with this rapidly changing world of ours. So, I hope you are doing better than me.
I have been deeply pondering the way words keep changing in meaning. If it is hard for me to understand, just imagine how Merriam and Webster are doing.
ZOOM used to refer to a camera lens moving in for a close-up. Now . . . it refers to some type of online meeting. Since I don’t have one of them fancy phones, I guess no will invite me to attend.
HOARDERS used to refer to people who collected everything under the sun as they filled up their basements, garages, and sheds with memories and junk. Now . . . it refers to anyone who creates a home warehouse for toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and disinfectants. Now I know why Bobby always has his garage door closed.
CASH used to refer to a time when we paid for things with currency, you know, the green stuff. Now . . . who can even remember the image on a $10 bill or a $20 bill?
FACE MASK used to refer to a part of an American football player’s helmet. Now . . . it refers to a way to protect yourself and show love to your neighbor at the same time. Hmm, are you on the same page with me? How do I look?
WHOPPER used to refer to one of the biggest and grandest of the burger world (and you could have it your way). Now . . . it refers to a “meatless” burger. Can you hear Clara Peller (from a competitor’s old TV commercial) shouting, “Where’s the beef?”
SOCIAL DISTANCING used to refer to the proper distance between a boy and a girl at a middle school dance. Now . . . it refers to a way to stay healthy and safe. I guess I’m all in with this new logic. How about you?
CURBSIDE PICKUP used to refer to a trash truck picking up some oversized items in the neighborhood. Now . . . it refers to a new way to buy groceries, without ever entering the store. Hmm, I hope the store’s gopher didn’t squeeze the Charmin (God Bless Mr. Whipple).
Now before I go, will you help me understand one more new word, VIRTUAL? We never witnessed this word much in the 20th Century, but now it is mentioned with everything . . . online classrooms, work from home, political campaigns, and even vacations.
These changing times are almost too much for a man of my age to fully understand. Well, I guess I can always rely on my grandchildren for some help. They don’t think I’m “over the hill” quite yet.
In all seriousness, I encourage all of us to be safe and stay as healthy as possible. Remember to wash your hands, wear a mask, and practice social distancing.