Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Saying things that now no longer make sense
So it got me thinking about words and expressions we use in everyday speech that have since outlived their meaning but we still use anyway. Here are a few examples.
“The tube” – a popular synonym for a television. Once upon a time there were tubes in a TV set. No longer. I guess you could call it “the chip” but I don’t see that catching on.
People order additional phone “lines”. In this cellphone world there are no “lines” -- everything is wireless.
“Don’t touch that dial”. You’ll hear announcers still say that. At one time you did have a big dial on your radio or TV, which you twisted to change stations. When was the last time you saw one of those that wasn’t in the Smithsonian right next to Abe Lincoln’s log cabin?
And for that matter, no one “dials” a phone anymore. We’ve been pushing buttons for forty years. And we no longer “hang up on people” although we still say we do.
People still say “roll up your window” in a car even though crank handles are now relics.
We used to correspond with certain friends in distant locales by getting out the old Bic and writing letters. Today we email, text, or IM but still refer to them as “Pen Pals”.
Recording artists are still coming out with new “records”. That’s what they were in the old days – vinyl platters. You could even argue that CD’s are just an updated technological version. But now music is released on line (again, is there really a “line”?).
And folks use the expression "But on the flip side," which refers to when vinyl records had two sides. 45 rpm's had a song on each side. There was usually the hit and if you "flipped" the record over, a second song.
Many years ago scripts were duplicated by a mimeograph machine. When a writing staff prepared a production draft of a script to be distributed to the actors, network, crew, etc. they would say, “time to put the script into mimeo.” That expression remained long after mimeograph machines were recycled into soda cans.
So what are other examples? It’s kind of interesting isn’t it, to stop and think once in a while about just what the hell we’re saying?