A wild goose chase

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By Michelle Williams


Language is a wondrous device.

It allows us unparalleled versatility of expression, quite a feat for the systematized jumble of symbols called the alphabet.

The raw power of language is not lost on those seeking to propel desire for their products or loyalty to their brands deep into the minds and pocketbooks of a public with noses pressed to the glass of the hottest trends.

Seems everything, these days, has to be new and improved to be of any contemporary consequence.

Here’s a perfect example.

I cut my finger and went to get a trusty Band-Aid – the badge of courage of daring kids and never critical buddy of clumsy adults since time immemorial.

I fished one out of the box I remembered fondly from childhood and bandaged my complaining digit. I was admiring the box’s neat, unassuming appearance when the words ‘unique adhesive system’ ambushed my lilting sentimentality.

The barrage of self-important words boggled me, momentarily. I did a double-take to see whether I’d seen what I saw.

Yes. It was true. My beautiful, unassuming, beige, utilitarian strip of confidence in the rightful longevity of things truly simple and perfect was now an overblown, pretentious system.

My beloved Band-Aid – gone pompous.

I felt wounded. It was a cut the UAS could not mollify.

The UAS idea was certainly contemporary and could, perhaps, catch the interest of the scratched, scraped and bleeding techno-geek population in the world, but was no improvement in my book.

Like the "Wizard of Oz," with Judy Garland, or "Bride of Frankenstein," with Boris Karloff, there are just some originals that are sacrosanct.

As my granny used to say, "If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it."

It was difficult to find any humor in the Band-Aid puffing-up debacle.

But, I had to laugh the other day when, passing through a large hardware store, I came upon an eye-catching banner hanging above a line of doors.

The sign exclaimed in colorful and cheerful script, "Home Entrance Systems."

I had to wonder, "Well, if you go in through one of these, do you have to have another one, properly designated a ‘Home Exit System,’" so you can get back out?"

I guess you could claim door dyslexia or just crawl out windows until your home exit insensitivity became door-mant.

And what about the constant superfluous, sycophantic ratcheting of superlatives to foist above the crowd and aggrandize everything from sports water to toilet paper to the (soon to be) latest human icon?

I still remember, and guess this dates me as unfly or undope, when a popular singer or actor was a star – simple, elegant, to the point and more along the lines of a natural phenomenon.

Apparently, someone figured out that mega-stars moved swiftly and expeditiously to the front of the flattery-craving caravan when their estimation was upgraded.

The ruse worked so well that slang – hip, chilly, bad, superbad, righteous, ultra, radical, extreme, awesome, sick, fly, dope and uber --- and I’m too old to know the newer ones, became incarnations to pay homage not only to the high-end groovy but the common dope.

We’re phat with muscled-up words. Drinking in and getting pumped on verbal adrenaline – phonetic caffeine!

What ever happened to the wide-eyed authenticity of "super duper?"


What a wonderfully unselfish creation.

I have to say, though, some folks take too many liberties with it – just listen to sports broadcasting.

Trying to keep a fix on all the latest and greatest terminology is like pursuing an untamed non-passerine.

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