Commonwealth Journal


September 26, 2012

Like, whut’s happnen’ dude?

Somerset — I contacted the editor and asked if it would be possible to resume submitting articles to his fine news outlet, and perhaps they could be occasionally printed on the Opinion Page. He opined that I had retired more times than Michael Jordan. Seriously, I didn’t know Michael retired—I thought he was still playing for the National Hockey League.

I really did need to take a break. Being a full-time great granddad during harvest season can be challenging. But now the tomatoes and green beans are picked and canned.

Unfortunately, the squirrels and raccoons got the corn, the cucumbers looked like grub worms and the moles unearthed my potatoes and they dried out during the drought. Now I’m left with a plot full of dead and dying stalks and vines and seriously considering dousing it with gasoline and setting it on fire. Hopefully I shouldn’t have to mow these three acres of ragweeds again.

While toiling in the sun, drowning in my own sweat and choking on rag weed dust, I had time to think about matters of grave concern. For example, does anyone think it’s possible to hear a teenager utter an entire sentence without using the word “like” at least two or more times?

Teenage conversation:

• Dufus;

“Like, man I gotta have a pair a them $300 boots from LJ, like, ya know?” (Translation: Labron James Chinese made sneakers)

• Clueless;

“Awesome man. Like, I gotta come up with some bread cuz da old man said he wouldn’t, like, gimme da whole pot for a pair a them bad shoes. Like, man I ain’t breakin’ bad and workin’ my fingers when he’s bringin’ home all that jack and like, expectin’ me to listen to all that jive in school, ya feel me?”

• Dufus;

“Like, man I know where we can score some pot and like, jack it up and like scoop some extra bread, ya know?”

• Clueless;

“Man if we score some smoke, like, we gotta jack it enough to make some bread and have enough for us to roll, ya feel me?”

• Dufus;

“Yeah man, and like, have enough to txt da chicks and score with them hot chitties that’s like, been buggin’ me for some smoke.”

• Teenage pledge of allegiance (As read from an iPhone):

Like, I pledge of allegiance to the flag, like, of the United States of America, and to the Republic, like, for which it stands, one nation, under God, like, with liberty and justice for all. Ya feel me?

Before you run to the keypad to write a letter to the editor about that hayseed hillbilly degrading the educational systems of today, I admit the aforementioned conversation is on the edge. But I have overheard exchanges that were eerily similar.  

Remember the days when we were taught proper English and how to speak it? We were required to diagram sentences and learn what verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs and all the components were. No one had to be a Shakespeare, just learn the basics and then you had a reasonably good chance of effectively communicating with your fellowman. We were expected to write book reports, and I mean write, not tap on a keyboard. We had reading math problems, which I hated, but we had to do them.

Progress is a good thing, but I wonder what its doing to the mental capabilities of the youth of the world. A calculator does their math and a computer does their thinking. With texting they have no need to hear a human voice, so they can’t understand what their parents are trying to say. Ask a teenager what he/she wants in a cell phone and you’ll probably hear: “4 inch retina display, wireless, A6 chip, 8-megapixel iSight camera, iOS 6 and iCloud.” Ask him/her who the Secretary of State is and you’ll probably hear; “You mean Kentucky has a secretary?”

I’m reminded of the youngster berating an older gentleman, telling him he was out of touch and still in the Stone Age regarding technology. The older guy calmly replied

“We didn’t have all the gadgets you play with today, so we invented them. What have you accomplished, you ungrateful pup?”

My great granddaughter is just starting to talk, but as she progresses, if she uses the word “like” in any grammatical way other than for what it was intended, I swear I’ll put her in timeout for a week.


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