An English In Kentucky


















Saturday June 15th 2019Tim Candler9


    You'd find yourself in a bar, enjoying a couple of beers, not the freezing cold tinned stuff, this beer came in a pint glass, it was a little below room temperature, had a froth to it and you could see the nourishment floating around in it, and if you had enough of it you knew your supper had been taken care of, a fairly pricey meal I guess, but it certainly went through you nicely. Then at the other end of the bar you'd catch a couple of old timers laying down the law about one thing or another, and there was a kind of high pitch whining tone to it that kind of made you think that they both met the modern standard of stable genius as they rattled on, gathering steam instead of useful information. A lot of words, expressions, have to wait a bit before achieving a place in a respectable dictionary. You don't know for sure, but you'd kind of hope there was a committee somewhere that gave the OK to a word, sieved the nonsense out, give us all a chance to digest something like "I'm woke" before assigning it to the ordeal of belonging to the English Language, as opposed to leaving it to the tender mercies of something like the Urban Dictionary, top 100 lists and other degradations to consciousness currently being perpetrated by the tight jean and tee-shirt crowd that dominate the black hole of technological progress. And don't even think about telling me that I have download an App for my mobile device, it just sounds disgusting, and always tempting to snap back, "Bugger-up your own device!"   



  At the same time, there's a sort of beauty to the living nature of words as they emerge and change, and quite wrong to assert that life would be more comprehensible if dictionaries were shorter. You can dispute "I'm woke," go on a bit about why not "I'm awake," but then you got Wake Island and after an initial cloud burst of sneering you come away with a special fondness from "I'm woke" for the games it plays with imagination, and certainly it's whole lot more intriguing than the ludicrous "I'm born again." Either way in the area of drunken old farts in bars, and on the internet, the idea of referring to them as stable geniuses has a certain sensitivity, the kind of expression a barman might use to lighten his patience at closing time, instead of yelling something like "Get on out you silly old gits, some of us have homes to go to." It's the sort of thing that upsets a gerontocrat, which I suspect is totally invented word derived from gerontocracy, which is a government by terrible old people. For those in doubt the word Git, started it's time on earth as a pregnant fish before being taken into the realm of the pejorative by eager minds.  And indeed, many years ago when I was a fully fledged and blissfully happy drunkard, I recall a particular barmen who had a way with words that spoke volumes, there were whole tomes in his expression as he watched for trouble at that time of the evening when customers were supposed to go home quietly. He used to work as an orderly in a mental asylum, and he had a wealth of stories, his charges ran the gamut, and for him "genius behavior" was how you got yourself banned from his bar.


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