Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Words Have No Meaning

Language changes. I know it's hard to believe. It's pointless to use old dictionaries to try to pin down the meaning of words because the meanings of words change with use and time.

The same goes for idioms.

When I was a kid and I kept asking for the same thing over and over again, my parents might say, "You sound like a broken record." I knew what they meant.

My Dad had a record collection consisting of old-time gospel acts, early sixties surf music, and folk. The covers of the gospel albums usually depicted white women with beehive hairdos standing primly in grassy fields. Sometimes there would be a dude wearing a suit and a crew cut sitting behind a piano (grassy fields can't be good for pianos). The surf albums (The Ventures, The Surfaris, Jan and Dean) usually had clean cut young men wearing short sleeve striped shirts, chinos and tennis shoes standing on a beach with surfboards and hot rods in the back ground. The folk albums (Kingston Trio, Peter Paul and Mary, and the New Christy Minstrels) depicted clean-cut young men and women clutching guitars and banjos. Most of the folk albums had a train somewhere on the cover (folkies love trains).

No matter how hard these artists boozed or smoked reefer, they were all clean-cut. It was quite a contrast with those bands that came just a few years later.

Anyway, we would play these mono records on our phonograph. Being kids we weren't too gentle with the vinyl discs either. Most of them ended up with at least one scratch.

And we all know what happens when the needle hit the scratch.

My kids have no idea what a record is. I doubt they've ever seen one. Even CDs are rare. As far as my kids know, music comes from the radio or Daddy's phone. "You sound like a broken record" is meaningless.

So what do I tell them when they say the same thing over and over.


dean said...

This is a tough one. "Your MP3 player is broken." doesn't quite make it

dean said...

You remember the covers better than I do. Good thing I didn't have JOhn and Yoko in the buff.