Friday, April 28, 2006

It's Interesting...

I don't know why. It's just interesting.

-- Birds travel great distances without suitcases, passports, maps and bags full of things that are absolutely necessary. And they do this without complaining.

-- The average tune-in time for an all-music station is 57 minutes; the average for an all-news station is 56 minutes.

-- People don't mind if we are talking to someone next to us, but they seem to mind if that person is on the other end of our cell phone.

-- Automobile speedometers exceed the general speed limit by 65 mph and any known limit by at least 50 mph.

-- News broadcasters tell us about "senseless tragedies," but never report "sensible tragedies."

-- Supermarket owners complain about how incredibly small their profit margins are, yet they continue to build more and more stores.

-- Each religion has definite "going to Hell" sins, but they aren't uniform across all faiths; are Muslim extremist killers in Heaven, while Catholic Lenten Friday meat-eaters burning in Hell?

-- A combination of hydrogen and oxygen powered, ripped open and sank the Titanic; all this was due to relatively minor changes in temperature.

-- You are either happy or sad, depending on whether it's the city or a cop giving you a citation.


Everybody has a story:
This one happened right here in Wilkes-Barre some time back. A man lost his wife but could not afford a proper funeral. The undertaker, a decent sort of guy, cut him a good break, but the man still owed $1000. As the cortege made its way to the cemetery, the bereaved husband glanced at the hearse's license plate and played the number. He won the $1000 he needed. (I, myself, read this story in the newspaper, so I know it's true.)

8 Comments:

Anonymous ruthc said...

A man lost his wife...
I've often wondered about the use of this euphemism. Why can't people say "die" (in whatever form is correct)?
I've "lost" my sunglasses. Even "lost" a glove or two over the years. To say you "lost" a spouse doesn't even begin to cover it.
Do people think that by saying "lost" to the bereaved somehow it doesn't hurt as much?

April 28, 2006 3:56 PM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

I used "the man lost his wife" because the emphasis in this piece was on the man. To start with "his wife died" would be to put it on his wife, but the story isn't going that way.

I agree; people die or, in my feelings on faith, pass on (to a new and better life). But that's me.

April 28, 2006 4:17 PM  
Anonymous ruthc said...

Please don't think I was finding fault with your phrasing; I understood. I was simply taking the idea a bit further.
But since I'm here---"pass on" and "passed" are other euphemisims that bother me.
And don't even get me started on "expired"! Makes it sound like a credit card!

April 28, 2006 5:53 PM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

I like "passed on," because to me it means the person has gone on to the next stage of life. Only the body has died and I don't consider that to be the real person. We buried my parents' bodies, but they continued on somewhere else. Non-smoking section, I am sure.

Expired? I was doing a membership drive for the local public radio station and said, "Don't let your membership expire before you do." Thought that was pretty clever.

April 28, 2006 6:42 PM  
Blogger Cold Josh Vail said...

Ruth and Tom......My .02ยข here.

In genealogy we always use the present tense as in Charles Sumner Vail is my great-grandfather. Even though I never knew him, he remains my gr-grandfather, hence the present tense.

As for ''lost'' I believe that it is used as a substitue word to soften the verbal misery. It could easily be replaced by more of a reality type word or phrase such as ''misplaced my glove''or ''my spouse passed away'' or even stating one's status in life as a widower or widow. ''Lost'' is a word we use loosely which covers a lot of ground, such as ''stuff'' or ''thing''. We have become grammatically lazy in that we do not search out the concise word to describe a situation, object or whatever.

Cold Josh's version......

April 29, 2006 8:01 AM  
Anonymous ruthc said...

...one's status in life as a widower or widow...
Now there's another term that seems to have lost favor: "widow/widower", I mean.
I long ago reached that stage in life when I read the obituaries. In years past they were written that so-and-so was the "widow of ...". Now they are invariably written "...the wife of the late ...". Huh? If he died she's no longer a "wife"; she's a widow. Big, big difference. I prefer to use the word that---as cold josh says---"describes" it.

April 29, 2006 11:05 AM  
Blogger Cold Josh Vail said...

Got another comment. This afternoon I was driving out to my son's place and while I was jukin' on the steering wheel along the backroads I thought about this blog.

They used to be called ''Used Cars'', but nowadays society tells us that we should use the term ',Pre-Owned Vehicule''. H-mm, is this to say that we are financially better off buying pre-owned car than a used one? When I go to the thrift store to buy work clothes ( what? spend fifty bucks for a pair of Levi's to paint?)I have yet to have heard or used the term ''Pre-Owned Shirts''...

The term ''widows'' came to mind. I would say that this word, widow/widower has been deleted from our present day lives because it is associated with being older'n dirt. Ah yes, the wife of the late so-and-so. How late? Martha was the wife of the late George Washington. It seems to me that we look for words or phrases which we use to spotlight an event or a situation without degrading ourselves.

Arrived at my son's place and was still jukin' to Johnny Winter...In my mind I was not trying to play the guitar such as he does, but rather just tapping out time along with him, in my pre-owned imported Japanese 4x4 truck with an RC and a moon pie on the seat next to me.

April 29, 2006 9:27 PM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

Ah yes, the wife of the late so-and-so. How late?

* * *

Well, not too late. "Lately of this life," or "Lately of this planet"; I'm not sure which. It should not be used very long after the departed has departed. You wouldn't say, "The late Harry Truman," in my opinion.

- - - - -

Arrived at my son's place in my pre-owned imported Japanese 4x4 truck.

* * *

Maybe, maybe not; check the VIN plate inside your windshield. If it begins with 1, 4, or 5 then it was built south of the border in the States; if with a 3, then in sunny Mehico; it with a 2, then right home in Canada. Vehicles with a "J" were built in Japan and are, as we say, "rice burners."

April 29, 2006 10:13 PM  

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