Friday, June 17, 2016

1657 Counter Clockwise in the Digital Age

Ok, show of hands please. Who can tell what time it is?

You, yes you in the back row?

Yes.  3:52 is correct.  Any other way to say it?

Third row third seat?

Yes, 15-hundred-52 also is right.

Anyone else?

No hands?

Anyone think of eight minutes to four? Or even “about ten minutes to four?”

Few young people think in those terms.  Many never have seen an “analog” clock or watch, at least in person.

To their detriment for two reasons:  1. An analog face tells you not only what time it is but how much time you have left as you approach the coming hour and 2.  A digital watch or clock has no counterclockwise.

How else do you say that with meaning.

How about “counterclockwise is when you grab something with your thumb at the top of it and your fingers beneath and then turn it so your thumb moves left.

Counterclockwise is 16 characters.  Seventeen if you make it two words.

“Grab something with your thumb at the top of it and your fingers beneath and then turn it so your thumb moves left” is 112 characters if you count the spaces, around 90 if you don’t.

In an age of “LOL” and “OMG” and “LMAO” and similar commonplace non-words in text messaging you’d think today’s thumb typists would opt for a condensation rather than expansion.

But they don’t know the direction the clock moves and therefore don’t know the direction in which a clock would move backward.

Here’s hoping someone invents a word that means the same, that is short, and that you can use even if you don’t know which way the clock moves.

But there’s a problem with artificial words… or hothouse words, words that don’t develop and grow organically.  Many are awkward and difficult on the tongue.

You don’t hear a lot of people using “kimplomer” a made up word for love.  Anyone yet know what “ethosian” means?  Look it up. (You can’t.)

But if someone starts using any of these, eventually, they’ll become the jargon of some obscure occupation or even fall in general use.

There are agencies that make up names for products.  The Oldsmobile Toronado was a good one. Rolled out like honey; easy to read. It had no meaning.  But it sounded good. Most of them either mean nothing or sound stupid. Or both.

The disgraced former soldier of fortune company Blackwater now calls itself Acadami.  The company that owns the Chicago Tribune changed its name to tronc.  Small “t.”  Tronc, with a capital “T” used to stand for Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.  But now it means “Tribune Online Content.”  Wonder who got a tronc load of money to invent that stupidness. Then, the pharmaceutical names.  Lunesta, Xarelto, Paxil, Zantac.

And “Verizon” speaks volumes.  You’ll find them in the “blank book” aisle at Barnes and Noble.  Also available as an e-book from Amazon.

Which brings us to
Today’s Quote: “CBS used to stand for Columbia Broadcasting system. Now it stands for nothing.”    --Andy Rooney asked about the company’s name change to CBS Inc.

To most of us counterclockwise isn’t counterintuitive.

I’m Wes Richards.  My Hopplers are my yoffa but you’re jeren to them. ®
Please nolend comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2016

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