I am the Missing Link . . .
As a child, I spent hours happily looking for reading material to subvert, pervert and invert my young mind. This reading material was written in what was once known as the King’s English, perhaps now the Queen’s English . . . possibly known in the U.S. as the President’s English.
My point is that I developed a working vocabulary in English, and felt quite comfortable flinging around words with gusto . . . until the last decade. But now I’m going to have to go out immediately and buy a dictionary for dinosaurs, because of words (I use the term loosely) like ‘hash-tag’ and ‘meme’ and “tweet.” We won’t even get into some of the slang tossed around by teens and twenty-somethings, because I consider it a foreign language. Sadly, as my hips grow, I become ever less hip.
Speaking of foreign languages, I remember laughing at an overseas Prime Minister a few years back, because of his outrage that American slang was polluting French. Now the joke’s on me. Electronic weirdness and today’s miniscule attention spans are assaulting writers everywhere. And we can no longer hide in our rooms like the hermits that we are. We must learn to Twitter. At best, this term conjures up a Disney character for me. At worst, clips of Hitchcock’s The Birds.
I could handle : ) and : ( and ; ) . . . I could figure out abbreviations like LOL or ROTFLMAO . . . but please, WTF is a hash-tag? And do we want to examine the etymology of this term too closely? (Kidding . . . I do realize that the ‘hash’ comes from the # in front of the tag. I’m not quite as stupid as I look.)
And how about meme? I know what a mime is—the guy in clown shoes and makeup who performs silently in a universe all his own. But meme? Despite my official class on Twitter yesterday (thank you, Harlequin, for taking pity on your more mystified authors!) I seem to have missed the definition of this term. Of course I will be off to Google it immediately–after first publicly embarrassing myself with this blog.
Finally, let’s take a dinosaur’s eye view of bit.ly—a term that Professors Emeritus Jenny and Amy threw out yesterday. I sit here squinting at it over my coffee and frowning. Here’s what my brain does with it: Bit? Bite? Dog bite? Inspector Clouseau of Pink Panther fame, asking, “Does your dog bite?” “No.” Chomp. “Owww! I thought you said your dog didn’t bite!” “That’s not my dog.”
This is all before my brain gets to the “ly” part of bit.ly, which is the truly offensive part. If you’ve been writing for any length of time, chances are you’ve had some Greater Authority (be it a critique partner, an editor, or a random contest judge) smack your hand and tell you to stay away from “cheap adverbs.” To be specific, the “—ly” adverbs.
So bit.ly is bothering me on so many levels, but most because I haven’t yet figured out what it means . . .
My notes define it as something which “shortens, shares and tracks” my links. Riiiiiight. I swear that when it comes to technology, I am the Missing Link. Does that mean that someone will be along soon to bit.ly me?