Verbal compost

So, there’s this deal going on called “verbal gardening.” (The site will congratulate you for stumbling upon it — clearly there’s no thought that someone might be directed to it.) As a linguistic experiment, the creators have created “verbal seeds,” which are new word meanings or phrases they believe they’ve developed from whole cloth. I’m doubtful they can lay claim to starting “urban myth,” since I recall using that phrase in high school and, if you read yesterday’s post, you’ll realize how long ago that was. Of course, these are Brits, so maybe they haven’t figured out the Americans had urban legends back when they still had old wives tales. They’re also cagey about when they started seeding, which is key to any etymological discussion.

And yes, I realize I’m now complicit by using their phrases here. Alas.

Their “verbal superseed” — they don’t give a definition that I see, but I’m inferring that by adding “super,” they mean to convey it’s their favorite or most powerful — is “TK Day.” This is the day that you are 10,000 days old. You’re meant to celebrate it as more meaningful than arbitrary governmental birthdays that allow you rights such as driving a car, drinking, voting, going to war. And renting a car, in which you can presumably do all of these things. For those of you whipping out your calculators, your 10,000th day occurs sometime when you’re 27.

See? We knew it was silly.

Today, I am 15,488 days old. (If you want an easy way to figure this out, go to Excel, type in today’s date in one cell and your birthday in another. Go to Format>Cells and select “number” from the general tab. Subtract your birthday from today’s date and there you have it.) So I missed both my 10,000th and 15,000th day anniversaries. At 20,000 days, I’ll be nearly 55.

It’s sounding grimmer all the time — I can’t see this catching on like wildfire with anyone but a silly twenty-something.

They also push for returning the venerable “hello” when answering the phone to “are you there?” Apparently they haven’t realized that the cell phone sea change has already changed this to the universally used “where are you?”

Speaking of which, “sea change” is a bit of Shakespeare’s verbal seeding. It’s wrong of me to trivialize his phrase, especially to describe a society that largely believes “wherefore art thou Romeo?” means “where are you Romeo?” not “why are you Romeo?” Of course, with the sea change (sorry), Juliet could be staged on her balcony, with her cell.

“Where are you, Romeo? What? Can you hear me now?”

2 Replies to “Verbal compost”

  1. I’m serious. This has been a totally different writing you. Maybe it’s the fiction work you’ve achieved that adds flavor to the essay? I dunno.

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