Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My Freak-Out du Jour

It started, as most things do, with me innocently surfing the web.

More specifically, skimming tweets, among which was a link to a recall notice for baby pacifiers.

Since my first grandchild is on the way, my alert system went into high gear.

Never mind that the recall was for a pacifier sold in Texas and California (we live in Canada), never mind that with the baby due in November pacifiers are likely not on the shopping list anytime soon, it's the idea that we must watch out for danger lurking around every corner when it comes to my precious grandchild!


What we need here is a grandma pacifier and this is it, my blog.

As with every other time this sort of thing has happened, I resisted the urge to email my son and daughter-in-law. I trust them to be good, responsible and loving parents. I especially trust my daughter-in-law to research anything that has to do with being a parent very thoroughly and to call on her older sister, who has two young children, her friends, her doctor, her prenatal group and perhaps me after that, if she needs advice.

As hard as I'm trying not to be a meddling grandma, I tried even harder  to not be an overprotective parent. My own mother was way ahead of her time - she'd have fit in wonderfully with the class of parents who don't let their kids out of their sight, strap a cell phone on them from the time they can burp, and whose mantra is "better safe than sorry".

I really really detest that expression especially when used as an excuse to smother.

So what's wrong with a little excess caution? Only that it tends to create an emotional cripple, a fearful neurotic person who sees only life's evils and is afraid to experience and grow. Or perhaps someone who rebels in the opposite direction. Either way, nothing good comes of it.

I refused to do that to my children when they were growing up and I refuse to do that to them as adults, or to my grandchildren.

As it turns out, I'd written about this sort of thing before: ten years ago in my personal journal. My then 15 year old son was off on a bus trip to a rock concert in the dead of winter and I was sitting up worrying. Of course he came home ok and life went on.

Being the nudnik that I am, I called to ask if he remembered it. He did indeed, but quickly sensed that I was "interviewing" him for a blog entry. What I managed to get out of him was that he does not feel that I was overprotective and that he was not just saying that because it was what I wanted to hear because "men don't do that".

I had to give him that one.

Oh and the band that they went to see in January 2000? Simple Plan, who now have their own Wikipedia page not to mention a stack of awards and nominations. Definitely worth the trip.

I guess what bothers me about my initial reaction to hearing about a pacifier recall is that I've let my guard down. For one thankfully short moment I became my mother or even worse, became one of those people who votes Republican because only George Bush can keep us safe. 

And now in conclusion, I cannot resist an over-the-top metaphor:

We live in a world full of warnings and cautions. Most are appropriate and useful - it's good to know when a thunderstorm is approaching, if only to keep your laundry dry. The problems arise when you never hang out your sheets in the first place because some day it might rain.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Refudiate This!

Contrary to popular opinion, Sarah Palin did NOT invent the word "refudiate"

Poor Sarah Palin. She can hardly utter a sentence without it being picked apart by the liberal elite intelligensia, by which I mean anyone possessing a dictionary.

Her latest gaffe: repeated use of the non-word "refudiate" in both oral and written language.

Well if "refudiate" wasn't a word before, it is now. I kind of like it - a perhaps accidentally clever, even elegant combination of the words "repudiate", "refute" and "refuse".

Many words start out in life this way, for instance, "brunch", "smog", and "humongous". In fact there is even a term for a "word formed by blending sounds from two or more distinct words and combining their meanings": portmanteau, as explained in Wikipedia - which is itself such a word combination.

Betcha didn't know that, Sarah.

And while "refudiate" is not in the regular dictionary - yet - it has turned up in the Urban Dictionary, a great resource for anyone wondering "what the heck does that mean" while browsing online or eavesdropping on the kids.

The Urban Dictionary lists three entries for the word, the first two referring to our Sarah, but the third predates her gaffe - by a whole three weeks - referencing an article in the New York Times in which the word was reportedly used by:

wait for it...

"pot sellers"

We are not talking Food Network here. Pot, as in weed, marijuana.

The article is in the Business Section, discussing the adventures of legally selling medical marijuana:

With a couple of exceptions ...  interviewing pot sellers is unlike interviewing anyone else in business. Simple yes-or-no questions yield 10-minute soliloquies. Words are coined on the spot, like “refudiate,” and regular words are used in ways that make sense only in context.

Sarah Palin, using a term borrowed from the drug subculture, putting lipstick on the pig to make it look like Shakespeare.

Sarah, why do you hate America?