Wordknapping

Yes, I know.  Kidnapping doesn’t have a K between the D and the N.  But since this blog is about words that have been kidnapped and tortured into meaning something else, I feel as smugly justified adding in the K as the person who substituted “my bad” for “I was wrong/my mistake.”

I’ll start out by rephrasing what my sister has stated on more than one occasion:  If our father had been in charge of determining what was acceptable language, the proper way of speaking would be, “Him and me ain’t got nothin’.”  His lack of education was the result of his 5’6” skinny-as-a-rail father pulling a knife on my dad’s 5th grade teacher because my dad needed shoes and she gave him a pair.  But short man syndrome is a rant for another day.

This rant is about words like discrimination and intolerance (which used to mean having discriminating taste; and being intolerant of gluttony, evil, sloth and greed).  Then there’s the word “cracker.”  It’s been wordknapped to mean white people that need killing.  Actually, it means you were born in Florida.  Yes, a Florida cracker is anyone of any race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, or planet of origin born in Florida.  These words have been twisted into a meaning unrecognizable by anyone who lived in a time when a 5th grade education meant you knew how to write in cursive and you could construct a 5-word sentence, without o’s over your i’s, that made sense.

Another good example is the wonderful word that once meant Santa was laughing; the joyous word used by celibate dwarves headed for work.  Yes, there was once a time when ho, ho, ho didn’t mean 3 women soliciting on a street corner.

Then there’s the word “paranoid.”  Once, it meant that believing a person, place or thing (that couldn’t care less whether you were alive or dead) was out to get you was probably irrational; i.e., the ticket taker at the airport wants to kill you.  Now it means anyone who doesn’t believe the same way you do and having a TSA agent grope you really can keep us safe.  If you think that’s true, Get unglued from the TV set, dust off Mein Kampf and start learning how to salute from your chest.

Take, for example, one of my experiences with TSA (please).  I was in the TSA line, leaving the day after my daughter’s wedding a year ago.  I have to tell you, I’m a real threat to society being ½ blind and slender.  After all, I could have a bomb in my shoes, or who knows where?  Up until a few months ago, I was hanging on to my tattered and worn 1993 driver’s license, uncertain I’d be walking out of the DMV with a license or an ID when I had to take the eye test to get a new one.   Then, there’s the fact that I won’t go through the body scanner.  It’s not that I’m concerned about someone seeing me naked—I’ve been married 5 times and, quite frankly, there ain’t nothin’ there that hain’t been touched.  I do, however, have an aversion to things like dancing in a mine field, sky diving without a parachute, and exposing what’s left of my body to insane amounts of radiation.  Add together the tattered driver’s license, dark glasses, and the word “no” when asked to go through the radiation monster and you can imagine how many times I get frisked.

As usual, I was pulled to the side and told I might miss my flight.   Generally, I’ll say something like, “I’m visually impaired, this is a violation of my rights.”  I believe that at this time in history, even a TSA agent is hard pressed to beat up someone ½ blind who’s half their size.  My statement doesn’t go over well, and they usually can’t get rid of me fast enough. This day, however, had a slightly different twist.

This day, it was a tale of 3 women—a TSA agent who absorbed vitamin D liberally, the other who absorbed vitamin D through her skin conservatively, and me.  With my respects to Thomas Crapper, who did his best to bring a toilet into every home in spite of having a name associated with a medieval word meaning shit, let’s cut the crap.  One of the TSA agents was a blonde, the other was black, and I wear dark glasses all the time except when I sleep.

The gatekeeper, a man who kept looking at my license, looking at me, looking at my license…well, you get the picture even if he didn’t—he had to call his supervisor, a man who humorously kept looking at my license, looking at me, looking at my license…  I was waved through just so the blonde lady could point at me and say, “You!  You’re my random female.”

So throw out the illegal search and seizure part of the constitution and let’s proceed to the next phase.

I’d left my shoes at the hotel where my daughter and her new husband would be staying the first night.  Unable to retrieve them before taking 3 planes back home, I was stuck wearing the only shoes available—a pair of 75 cent flip flops I brought along on the off chance I might have the opportunity to enjoy a hot tub.  Instead of thinking about the fact I was freezing my feet off, I watched the looks on people’s faces as I stood between the lines of passengers trying to get to their flights.  They glanced at me, averted their eyes, and continued to slink past the x-ray machines and radiation monsters as if to say, “I hope they don’t pick me, too.”

That’s when the black lady said to a man in the opposite line that he was to stand next to that female.  What am I—a dog?  (Don’t answer that).  Then, the blonde lady pointed to a man just passing through the line and said, “You.  You’re my random male.”

And that’s when all hell broke lose.  Not that shredding the constitution and losing every right you hold dear isn’t bad enough, but the black lady yelled to the blonde lady that her male wasn’t random and she picked him first.

I turned to the random male standing at the gallows next to me and said, “I feel real safe, don’t you?”  He didn’t seem to see the humor in it, nor did he seem to want to be associated with anyone who did.

Well, the supervisor became involved in the escalating argument, and by all that defies common sense, the skinny woman without shoes and the terrified male next to her were condemned to be searched.  The non-random male was free to go.

Finally, a male was sent in to the frisk the male and I was frisked by the blonde lady.  Mr. Random and I were directed to face our belongings, my pitiful flip-flops on top of my purse (which, by the way, is half my size).  Ms. TSA turns to Mr. TSA and asks what the random search is for the day.

His answer, “Shoes.”

I laughed and said, “That shouldn’t be hard for you.”

Mr. TSA chuckled, Ms. TSA frowned, and I made it to my flight in plenty of time because, I figure either the glasses, the license, or the refusal to be irradiated will get me frisked so I prepare for the possibility.

BAID (but alas, I digress).  Or should I say, “My, baid.”  Oooooh, even I have to admit that was bad.