Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Pop the Clutch


My older daughter (the first grader) and I have recently begun playing Scrabble in the evening. It's a nice change of pace from our usual games of Chess, Checkers and Dominoes. She never ceases to amaze me with how fast she's learning. A few months ago, I doubted she would even comprehend Chess and now I have to actually pay attention so she doesn't beat me. Scrabble is no different.

The one issue I do have while playing Scrabble with her is that she comes up with some pretty off the wall "words." I am torn between letting her be excited about being able to play a word and crushing her by telling her she hasn't spelled it correctly. (She does a lot of phonetic spelling as she learns.) Just yesterday she tried to play the word "ethylenediaminetetraacetates" saying it was some kind of acid or something, but I told her to quit making up words.

This got me thinking about how the words we use change over time as they rise and fall in popularity with a passing fad. Back in the 80's we thought something really impressive was "rad" or "radical." I remember my mom telling me that their big word when she was younger was "boss." As in, check out that boss Harley Davidson over there.

One of the kids in our office (I think he's like 12 or something, but I'm afraid to ask) used the word "clutch" the other day to describe something. Since then, we have taken every opportunity we could to use the word clutch in a sentence. I'm pretty sure none of us old fogies have managed to "properly" use the word clutch in a sentence yet...if that's even possible, but that hasn't slowed us down.

I think as a form of retaliation, I am going to start speaking with my old Marine Corps terminology when I'm around him. I think a heavy dose of nautical terms, acronyms and some good old Marine Corps specific terms ought to break him of his "clutch" habit.

Come to think of it, bringing back some military jargon might help me in my Scrabble game against my daughter too. When I find myself in a bind, I can just play all my tiles and quickly make up a phrase to match the "acronym." That is, as long as my wife isn't around with her lame rules about how you can't use acronyms, personal names or made up words in Scrabble. We'll see how it goes. Until next time....