As a writer, I am intrigued about the English language. There used to be a sentiment in America that if you immigrate to this country, you should be glad to learn the language and assimilate into the American culture. Things have changed. No other country in the world but in America is there a belief that the country's official language is unimportant enough to learn if you are an immigrant.
If you were to go to Germany, Japan, China, the Middle East or any other Non-English speaking country, you would be expected to learn the language or hire an interpreter to get along. Not in America. We demand our citizens learn other languages even if we never intend to leave our native soil. We print all government publications in about 35 languages (try that in any other country) and every phone call to nearly any business is answered bilingually--the one that gets me is when I have to push "1" to speak English!!
Yes, it makes us all mad that we would be required to learn the native language but we do not require the same of other countries. When our grandparents came to America, if they didn't assimilate the language, they didn't work, eat or get ahead in any way. In short, they had to learn the language or they and their family suffered.
My wife and I were talking the other day as I was editing the chapters of my new book, Chance of a Lifetime, due out sometime next year. In the defense of all immigrants, English is the most complicated language in the world. I have studied Italian and Spanish and their sentence structure is much less complicated. For example: In English, you might say "I am hungry." In Italian, it would be "Ho fame" or literally, I am famished. In English it would be "Let us eat." In Italian, "Mangia."
The English takes way too many words to say the same thing as most other languages.
Even the English speaking countries are better at English than we are. The British spell things the way they sound. Socialise; Defence; Offence; Kerb (curb); The British often end words with 'our' or a dangling 'e' such as colour and theatre rather than the American color and theater. But, hey they British have been around longer so they get to choose the correct English spelling.
With that said, I began to think of American English words that make no sense to me. I am listing a few here as my defence. Take the word 'route' many in the US pronounce this word as 'root' which makes no sence to me. If route is pronounced root, then why is not trout pronounced 'troot'? Or why, if route is pronounced root, is not pout pronounced 'poot'? See where I am coming from?
There is a county in Tennessee spelled Blount, after Governor William Blount. The name Blount is pronounced 'Blunt', as with a cigar or being to the point. So I ask you if Blount is pronounced blunt, how does one pronounce count? And if count is pronounced 'count' why would not Blount be 'blount', to rhyme with count?
Getting back to the route of the problem, if a baseball game is a rout (pronounced rout) then how can route be pronounced 'root'? And if a tree has a root, why is it not spelled 'routes'?
If I comes before E unless after C, then how can my neighbor seize the glacier at the height of the day? I read a cuneiform that weighed heavily on the fancier science. It was really weird.
One last thing I fail to understand about the English language. When we were growing up, the hard fast rule was that vowels were "A', 'E', 'I', 'O', 'U' and sometimes 'Y'. Just when the Hell did 'W' become a vowel? Don't believe me? I was playing Words with Friends and my opponent got a triple word score for the word Cwm--pronounced 'coom' and meaning a valley. I guess that I need to find a round rwm and sweep the corners with a brwm. It is no wonder the English language is dwmed. I can't blame immigrants for keeping their own language, English is just tw hard.
Just a note to say that my first Novel is now available online at www.Barnesnoble.com. I am excited for this as it is the first time I have had anything published. So drop by and see if it is something you might be interested in. If so, once you read it please go back and fill out a review.
We visited our grandaughter (and her parents) this weekend and it amazes me how very grown up this little 21 month seems. We listened to her carry on a story with her Daddy and it was so hiliarous. I am posting a video link of the action here. Let me know what you think. Kairi and Daddy tell a video
Many people are under the assumption, a rather false assumption, that when you have sex with someone without benefit of artificial birth control, that you are on the road to parenthood. Such is not the case. My wife and I had wanted children from the time of our marriage. Looking back, it is most assuredly a good thing that we were not able to have children during the early years of our marriage.
We were young and in love and in no financial shape to have children at that time. As time wore on and we became more mature and more financially stable, the old parenting genes kicked into overdrive and we both began to feel the need to nurture and care for another human being.
We began to actively try to get my wife pregnant during our fifth year of marriage. We were living in Savannah and had our own business and had no desire to move. We wanted to build our family right there in the city we had adopted as our own.
My wife had always kept a careful record of her monthly cycle and she made notations in her pocket calendar. She noted every time we made love and took extreme care to note when she was ovulating.
The first time we made love was a pleasant experience. We were still young and in love. We assumed that afterwards we would just sit back and wait nine months for the baby to arrive and then we would be a family.
As luck would have it, we must have missed our objective the first month, for my dear wife called me at work and dolefully told me the news.
"I'm not pregnant." She said.
"Why?" I asked, as if she knew. “Is something wrong?"
“I don't think so. I guess we just didn't do something right." She said with hurt in her voice.
“I guess we just have to try harder this time." She said, grudgingly. I agreed and we put the matter to rest until the next month.
The next month we tried again- twice just to make sure. The results were the same. No baby.
The third month we were back in the trenches and we figured three times were a lucky number but, no avail. We began to meet almost daily to ensure that we couldn't miss. Nothing we did seemed to work. We were both becoming a little discouraged. Maybe we would never have a child.
By the end of the fifth month, the daily ritual was becoming hard to continue. After all we weren't newlyweds anymore. How could we be expected to keep going at this rate?
We came to the conclusion that there must be something wrong with one of us. My wife had been to her doctor and had been declared to be perfectly fit to bear a child. The ball fell in my court.
It was assumed that I was the one with the faulty plumbing. My wife's gynecologist recommended a urologist and an appointment was made. It should be said here that no man likes to think that there is something wrong with him but to think that there is something wrong with him sexually is quite another matter entirely. I had tried for weeks to think of possible reasons that my wife hadn't gotten pregnant. Maybe it was the full moon. Maybe the tests were inaccurate and she was really pregnant after all. Maybe the Pope was Jewish. My wife would hear none of it and she dragged me down to the doctor’s office for the appointment. He was a Korean man, Dr. Coon Cause Tin. An Asian Marcus Welby, if you will. We were ushered into his office and the nurse informed us that the doctor would be with us shortly. In the office, the first thing to catch our eye was a prototype of a penile imp1ant sitting square on the desk in front of our seats.
“Wow," said my wife, holding the inflator. "We could have used this last night."
"If you are going to get nasty, I can just go home now." I said matter-of-factly.
"Shut up and sit down." She said. "The doctor will be here soon, just calm down and relax."
"Relax!!! And just how do you propose that I am supposed to relax? We're here to see if I can father a child. How is that supposed to make me relax? Will you answer me that?"
"Gee. Touchy aren't we. I'm sorry I said anything." She said, pouting.
"So am I." I said, pouting more. Thankfully the doctor arrived just then and kept us from the ensuing blows. He paid no attention to the half inflated prototype on the desk(we couldn't find the release valve). Looking very much like Lon Chaney in one of those horrible old horror movies, the doctor introduced himself to us.
"Your wife's doctor has informed me of the situation and I would like to tell you that we will do all that we can to help. I must get some information from you and then we can proceed with the tests." Sitting down, he took my cart and started to ask questions. "Do you drink, smoke cigarettes, or take intravenous drugs?"
“Occasionally, quit three years ago, no." I answered.
"Have you ever had Gonorrhea, Syphilis, or any other sexually transmitted disease?"
“How many times a week do you have sex?"
“Before or now?"
"You are trying too hard. Every other night is plenty. If you do more often, your sperm count will be too low. You not have baby with no sperm."
"Thanks, Doctor." I said, standing up. "I appreciate the advice. Come on honey."
"Wait. We have only just begun. We have tests to run and I must give examination to determine proper diagnosis. Come, let us go to the examination room and get started; You stay here mommy."
I reluctantly followed him across the hall into a tiny cubicle of a room. It was scarcely furnished with an exam table and two cabinets and the required three year old Boys Life Magazines. (There is something strange about a urologist with ‘Boys Life’ in his exam room.)
The doctor handed me a flimsy paper nightgown and excused himself while I readied for the exam. When he returned, the look on his face no longer reminded me of Lon Chaney, but that of the Marquis de Sade.
I was poked and prodded in so many places; I began to feel like a pin cushion. I promised myself that the child better he worth it. When it was all over, he told me to get dressed and to meet him back in his office. As I dressed I could not help but feel that it was a hopeless cause and that we would never have children. I was setting myself up for a pity-party. I walked back into the office and the doctor had not returned yet. There was my wife, reading his diplomas to insure that he was a "real" doctor.
"What did he say?" She asked, her eyebrows arched in consternation.
"Nothing yet, he just examined me. He said to meet him back here."
“I hope he hurries," She said. "I feel kind of strange sitting here in his office with all these devices and things."
"Now you know how I feel when I go with you to the gynecologist; All those pregnant women looking at me as if I were the reason for their being there. I get the feeling that if looks could kill…." At that moment, the doctor came into the room moving swiftly so that his smock just barely fluttered in his wake.
"Mr. and Mrs. Dudubiel," He said in his best English. "It will take three or four days for the lab results. I would like to schedule another appointment with you for Friday in order to read the results and allow you to bring a specimen."
"Specimen?" I more said than asked. "What kind of specimen?"
"A sperm specimen, of course." He said, opening his desk drawer and pulling out a baby food jar. He sat it on the table and scooted it across to me. "You will need to fill this and bring it back on Friday when you come back."
"Fill it? How long do I have?" I asked, incredulously.
"I do not mean for you to fill it. I just say to put something in it. Do you understand?"
I understood. I wished that I hadn't, but I did. I picked up the jar and stuffed it into my overcoat. I didn't want to be seen carrying it out. We thanked the doctor and left.
On the way home in the car, my wife asked if i needed any help with the task I had before me. I smiled sardonically at her and thanked her for the offer. There are just some things a man has to do by himself.
The week passed slowly. I felt as if Friday would never come. When it finally did, I was not ready. As we prepared to leave I got my little jar and put it inside a paper bag. I put that bag inside another and that bag inside one more, and then I stuffed the bag in my coat pocket. I was as ready as I would ever be. As we walked into the office, I shuffled over to the receptionist’s desk, head low as if I were shamed, and put the bag on the desk.
"What is this?" She asked, without raising her head.
Who was she kidding? She knew exactly what "this" was. She just wanted me to say it. All doctor’s receptionists are sadistic.
"It's a specimen." I mumbled.
"What did you say?" She asked, leaning closer, this time raising her head enough to see my face.
"A specimen!" I said through gritted teeth.
"Oh, why didn't you say so?" She opened first one bag then another, and then another before seeing the jar. "Your name?" She asked.
"Stuteville." I whispered. She wrote the name Statesville down on a label and stuck it to the jar.
"Have a seat, and the doctor will be right with you.” Turning around, she yelled at the nurse down the hall. "I have a specimen for Studebaker." Everyone in the waiting room looked up and I nodded hello. I buried my head in my coat, and groped my way to where my wife was sitting. Sitting in the waiting room, I watched as an older man, probably fiftyish, went up to the office desk and spoke to the receptionist.
My wife, noticing the man, nudged me and pointed to him. "You should be more like him. He isn't ashamed to be here."
"He doesn't have to. Did you see the size of HIS jar?" I asked.
"Silly, that isn't what I mean. There is a man nearly fifty and he wants to have children. He isn't ashamed. He just walked in and gave the lady his jar and that was that. It's just like a business transaction."
I didn't agree with her. There is just some¬thing about being under thirty and thinking that it is your fault you don't have children. I looked up just in time to see the older man approaching the empty seat beside me; Lucky me.
"Hi," He said quietly. I nodded. He settled himself in and sat beside me. "Don't you just hate sitting in these waiting rooms? All these men, and knowing that 99% of them have Problems. It's sort of sad, don't you think?" I just looked and nodded ever so slightly. I didn't want to give away my secret. The old man continued.
"Me, on the other hand, If I could help them I would. Lord knows a man with six kids must be doing something right. If it weren't for that stupid doctor, I would only have five." I must have looked lost. On seeing my expression, the man elaborated.
"You see, two years ago the doctor gave me a vasectomy. Next week, my youngest daughter will celebrate her first birthday. I Plan on suing the pants off him.
"What are you here for?" He asked.
"Checkup." I lied. As fate would have it, the nurse called my name at that moment. I got up and went into the hallway on the other side of the door. Following the nurse down the hall, we stopped at a large microscope where the doctor was looking at something. He looked up.
"Would you like to see?" He asked. "This is your sperm." I looked in the microscope. I saw thousands of tiny creatures swimming all around. I was unimpressed. We followed the doctor into his office.
"I have good news. I think we can help you." He said as he circled the desk and sat down. He put his elbows on the desk and interlocked his fingers. Resting his chin on his fingers he looked at us as if he were forming a question in his mind. After a long silence, he spoke. "There is nothing physically wrong with you."
"Then what is the problem?" I asked.
"I'll have to ask you a few more questions, but I am reasonably sure of the problem. What kind of undergarments do you wear?"
"Beg pardon?" I asked.
"What kind of underthings..pants do you wear? Are they jockey shorts or boxer?"
"Jockey shorts. Look, I don't see what this has to do with my problem."
"You will understand in time but you must have patience. I want you to start wearing boxer shorts. Jockey shorts tend to cause heat and moisture. This will cause the sperm to die.
"Also you and your wife are trying too hard. You must not do this. Every other day when your wife is ovulating should be plenty."
"I just don't understand how this will help us." I said, not that I wasn’t glad for the respite. I was confused that it could take so much time and money and that the answer would be so simple. Surely there had to be another reason. "Sir, you must believe me when I tell you. It is not so complicated. Trust me and soon you will be able to hold that little baby that you want so much." He stood up as if he were through. As difficult as it was to believe, we were willing to try anything. My wife went out and bought me three dozen pairs of boxer shorts. Though, I felt a little strange with my undershorts around my knees, it was a small price to pay in order to become a parent. As unbelieving as I was at the start, you can imagine how astounded I was when my wife called and told me the good news. Almost one month to the day from our last visit with the doctor. I received a call from my wife at work. After five years we were finally going to have a child. As I look back now, I cannot begin to understand how things seem to work out. People who want no children seem to be able to have more than they can handle and people who really want children have the hardest time. It just doesn't seem fair.
Our daughter will be twenty-two this year and one thing is certain. Seeing as we had to wait so long, we seemed to have really enjoyed our daughter’s presence more than if we had had no problems.
Now that I am a parent and a Grandparent I have begun to look back on my life and the way I was raised. I remember when I was young; I swore that I would “NEVER do my kids that way.”
I must be honest from the start. Raising a family of four children, with most of the years spent as a single parent, musthave been difficult for any mother and mine was no exception.
As I look back, I cannot complain about my childhood, althoughthere were times that I, like most children, thought my mother must have lost her mind (She claims she did and it was my fault!). It was not that she was actually crazy however, the things she said that made me feel that way.
Like the time she asked "Just who do you think you are? The Queen of Sheba?" Of course I didn't. The king of France maybe...;
Or "This is going to hurt me more than it will hurt you." (This was usually said right before a switch or belt was applied to my backside). Who did she think she was kidding? Did I really look that dumb?
Thinking back on these things, I began to recall many of the sayings that my mother had. These were sayings that mothers had passed down from generation to generation. No woman would dare call herself a mother unless she could recite these phrases, questions) and answers.
Erma Bombeck called them "Mother-ese" and Teresa Bloomingdale says it's "Mom-Sense"; to a child they are the cause of confusion and while there is no proof, it is believed that these sayings can cause acne, stunt your growth, and warp your sense of humor. There is no doubt they are the reason for my many years of therapy.
We used to play a game in high school where we would see who could come up with the craziest thing their mother ever said. There was no prize, but the winner got a pat on the back and condolences for being able to remain sane. Below are a few of the best. See if you can pick out your mother.
"Don't do as I do; Do as I say!"
"Your hair smells like Kyarn." (When I asked her whar kyarn was, she had no idea but she knew it smelled bad, just like my hair.)
"I'm going to beat the living (expletive deleted) out of you and then slap you for (expletive deleted)!"
"Children in Africa could live for a year on the food you waste in one meal."
"I suppose if (friend's name)told you to jump in the lake, you'd do that too."
"I'm going to kill you!"
"You're going to drive me to an early grave!" (I would have been happy to do that if it meant getting the car keys.)
"If I had a nickel for every time you asked me'why', I'd be rich."
"I don't care if (friend's mother’s name) does let him stay up till 9:00 p.m.,you'll do as I say! And since you like how she does things so much, why don't you go live with her? I'll even pack your bags and drive you over there!"
"Are you deaf?"
"Where have you been? And don't lie to me!"
"Do you think I'm crazy?"
11 Why do you do this to me?"
"Do you think I'm doing this for my health?"
“Keep your mouth shut and listen! Do you hear me? Answer me, Dammit!”
"Because I said so, That's why!"
"I'm your mother, I don't have to have a reason!"
"Because I'm the mother and you're the child and what I say goes!"
"I don't have to tell you why? When I say'jump', you're supposed to say 'How high?' Not 'Why'! Have you got that?"
"If you ask me 'Why?' one more time, I'll show you why!"
I thought I had heard all the excuses for not buying a shoe that a woman could ever dream of, but I was wrong.
The other day a woman came into my store and tried on a few thousand pairs of shoes. There was something wrong with every one of them.
This one way too big. Too small; Too blue; Too high of a heel; Too low; It hurt her heel. Her toes; Her pride. This one costs too much. It looked cheap. She didn't want a snake on her feet, etc. etc. Then she came up with one I have never heard before.
"It's a cute shoe," she said, sadly shaking her head "but, it shows my toe cleavage. I really like them, but I don't like for my toes to show."
It never ceases to amaze me that in an age when women take pride in their bodies and try to show as much of their breast cleavage as the law will allow, that there could be someone who was inhibited enough not to want her toes to show. I, for one, am glad, that women have chosen to draw the line on just how much of their bodies that they are willing to leave on public display. The toes are an good a place as any to start.
They say that fashion repeats itself every twenty years or so. Does this mean that we will begin to see a reverse trend in the dress habits of women? Will they soon return to wearing bras and start shaving their legs again? Let us hope. I can see it now. It would be slow at first. Maybe some woman will be helping her mother clean out the attic when she comes across a bra.
"Hey mom! What's this?" she will ask, holding it up.
"That is what used to be called a bra. We burned those back in the sixties. I just kept this one as a souvenir."
"What were they used for?" the daughter queries.
"We used them to protect ourselves and also to make us more attractive in a dress."
"Why did you burn them?"
"Come to think of it, I don't even remember...."
"A bra. What a novel idea." Says the daughter. "May I have it?"
"Certainly. I will never use it." The mother says.
I know that I am grasping at straws here, but it's nice to think about. After all, a woman doesn't have to show every curve of her body in order to attract men. Look at the fashions of the late forties and fifties. Women wore clothes then, and those were the years we refer to as the Baby Boom. That should tell us something.
I look forward to the time when we will hear "Pardon, but your cleavage is showing. It may only be in reference to the toes at first, but it's a start.
It has been a while since I have posted to this blog. I would like to say I have been busy but the truth is that I have been busy doing nothing. I like to think I am the best at doing nothing, perhaps even the King of Nothing but here lately that title has been stolen from me.
Just who is the new King of Nothing, you ask? (Thanks for asking by the way) The new all time King of Nothing is the Congress of the United States of America. For the last year and a half, they have had much ballyhoo about all the mess they (and the President) inherited and they many wonderful things they are going to do for (read: to) us that we are too stupid to do for ourselves.
First we had the bailout of the banks and the car companies; both of whom needed to be allowed to go bankrupt because of their greed and stupidity. Banks loaned money to anyone with a pulse (and I am not to sure that there weren't a few of the non-palpitating in those numbers) and car companies allowed the unions to drive them to the brink of bankruptcy rather than investing their money in clean energy cars.
If we as Americans have to balance our own budgets, then why the hell does our government not have to? We have a $2 Trillion budget deficit that we were promised would not cause taxes to go up on any but the top 2% of the population--those making over $250K a year. I got news for the Congress....I am not part of the elite 2% and nearly every tax I pay has gone up this year.
Next, the All Omnicient Federal Government decides we need a 1200 plus page health care bill that no one ever bothered to read---at least no one in Congress----and we have Nancy Peolsi telling us that we just have to let them pass it to see what is in the bill. Now that makes sense.
The Health care bill has passed and it is set to become law---part AFTER the 2010 elections and the rest AFTER the 2012 elections. The thinking is that by the time it becomes law and the people realize they have been screwed once again by Uncle Sam, it will be too late and the Democrats will be back in charge for yet one more term.
The Republicans are no better. They have stood in press conferences and loudly proclaimed how they are for the real American people. The hard working, tax paying people that they represent have been fooled by them too. Neither party is worth it's salt and it is time for real reform. For over a year now, on my other forums I have touted that we throw ALL the bums out and vote in a few plumbers, hockey moms, taxi drivers, fast food workers, preachers, health care workers, truck drivers, etc to take their place.
It should be against the law for a person to spend over $100,000 for any state election and over $500,000 for any national election. All candidates should have to present themselves to the public over the public television stations that we the people fund. We should toss out every lobbyist and every lawyer in the congress and let the common man fix the problems they have made. It is time we made a stand America and our new theme song ought to be: "We're not gonna take it ANYMORE!"
Which leads me to a joke I heard years ago. What do you call 535 congress members at the bottom of the ocean? A good start.
America, much like Rome, started it's fall yesterday as the Congress took it upon itself to circumvent the Constitution by voting on the amendments and by that, passing the Senate version of the bill. With this $2.4 Trillion bill we have no way of paying for without raising taxes on every single American that alreadys pays them.
Our congress is acting like the Politburo of the old USSR, in that it thinks it knows what we need and despite our protests, have forced us to accept this bill. Comrades Obama and Pelosi and 218 other Democrats have eptiomized the Big Brother of Orwell's 1984 by giving us what they want despite our desires.
No one could disagree with needed reforms such as were suggested for pre-existing conditions, or against the insurance companies arbitrarily cutting people for using their coverage. The argument is not the substance so much as the means of reform. To be certain, anyone who is pro-life would have voted against the bill on principle alone.
We could have achieved a comprehensive reform that addressed the supposed reason for the bill--affordable health care and the above mentioned reforms--all without hijacking the constitution and without getting government in the business of insurance. The problem is, the Democrats were so damned determined to get a victory, they strong-armed and cajoled and browbeat until they got their way. No one read the entire bill, and anyone that did, should have realized that there is no way to pay for it as is.
Forced health care will cost many jobs and what fringe benefits that most companies have left to enable them to pay for it. What good is insurance if everyone is out of a job? Who is going to pay for it then?
The bell has rung and there is no way to un-ring it. Once you give an entitlement, it becomes permanent. Social Security is an example. It was designed to a temporary measure that has lasted 50 years. Social Security is broken and with Government running it, there is no fixable solution. God Help us with them in charge of Helath Care.
To make matters worse, the IRS is in charge of enforcing Health Care. Can we say Big Brother? Conservative America should prepare to remove every single person from Congress and replace them with people that will do our will or else be practicing your Communist worker songs. Health Care should be changed to Health Scare.
I have over 30 years of Retail Management experience. With over 10 years as a Multi-Unit Supervisor and 11+ years as a Corporate Trainer. I am currently the Vice President of Operations of a franchise company.
My first novel, Chance of a Lifetime, will be published in 2013 by Dmon Publishing.