Words I Didn’t Know 20 Years Ago

I’m sick of focusing on all things political and dwelling upon the handbasket in which the world seems to be going to hell. Aren’t you? But it’s hard to keep the subject of change out of the front rooms of my cluttered mind, so I decided to think about the many things that either didn’t exist or hadn’t been named 20 years ago. I came up with quite a list.

  • Blog/Vlog/Podcast—It’s ironic that I should be blogging about this, but there you have it. We certainly have a lot more ways to get our point across than we once did.
  • Restless Leg Syndrome—I think a lot of syndromes get identified and named simply so that drug companies can sell us pills for them. I’m not saying that this malady shouldn’t be taken seriously. I’m just wondering where it was before the drug commercials told us all about it.
  • Hashtag—We used to just call that thing a “pound sign”. I still have to stop myself from calling it that. Why did we have to come up with another term? It’s the same number of syllables.
  • Fibromyalgia—I used to manage a medical library, and I remember the first day I heard this word, because I got no less than 15 inquiries about it on that day, when I had never heard of it in my life the day before. It’s like it was Athena, being born fully formed out of the head of Zeus. Or something.
  • World Wide Web—Yes, grasshopper, life was livable before the internet.
  • Emoticons and Emojis—We still managed to express ourselves without these nifty little devices. Now I can’t get through the day without encountering one, even if I have to stop and think for a minute to be able to tell them apart.
  • Tilapia—Another Zeus birth thing—one day I had never heard of this fish, and the next it was every freakin’ where. Many consider this a trash fish, but now it’s served in restaurants. I shudder to think what we’ll be eating once we’ve run through all the trash fish. (“Soylent Green is people” just popped into my head.)
  • Texting—I must confess I only acquired this skill an embarrassingly short time ago. Now I do it all the time, and think I’m the shit because of it.
  • LGBTQ—It’s not that this wasn’t a thing, and hasn’t been a thing since the dawn of mankind. It’s just that we didn’t used to have an acronym for it.
  • Credit Card Swipe Machines—Zeus birth thing number three. I was shopping one day, and every single store I went into had them, when none of them had them the day before. I had to be taught how to use it by the first cashier. And now, ironically, they’re about to go the way of the Dodo bird. Pretty soon you’ll only see chip readers. What’ll they think of next?
  • Drone—This word used to only mean a male honeybee or someone who spoke in a monotonous way. Can you imagine? It’s a different world.

Suddenly I’m feeling really, really old.


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2 thoughts on “Words I Didn’t Know 20 Years Ago

  1. Seattle Park Lover

    I think you were just behind in hearing about a lot of these things. 😉 Restless leg syndrome, fibromialgyia, world wide web, emoticons, LGBTQ, swipe machines were all named/in use before 1996.

    I’m totally with you on the tilapia. Never heard of it, then I saw it all over the place, and within the last few years.

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