The set up for this page begins with an innocent looking three letter word. I start my blog postings with no set agenda (my work has been compared to an episode of The Simpsons). A single word is always the theme: In this case the word Set can stand alone or be incorporated into another word fragment. Read on and see how many references you can find. Report your findings to set the record straight. All set?
We all have a set of something: like golf clubs, luggage, cutlery, earrings, barbells, thimbles, or beer coasters. Sometimes the things we collect into sets are purposeful. Some folk can boast of having complete sets of things. I like to prune and harvest my own set of ideas about life. I choose to edit regularly so I don’t get set in my ways. As we age we collect a robust set of memories. And most old folks, including me, can set their mind to something and never let go of it, which can be upsetting to the younger generation.
As a kid, I liked watching cowboys shoot people on a TV set, while building a model battleship. As the glue set I would plan how I would re-enact a war scene. Back then every boy had a train set and every girl had a tea set. I see no sign that my grandkids are conforming to rigid cultural patterning like their grandfather. They wear pink if they want or dress as unicorns, dinosaurs or super heroes. As far as I can see there is no set idea regarding who they are or who they can become. Mindsets have changed.
I can’t believe the word Set is so ubiquitous! How many variations so far? Imagine you are an ESL student trying to sort through all these examples? Ok. Now visualize a stage set, which has pieces arranged in a setting to stimulate the minds of the audience. This set design is integral to the plot and to the actors who inhabit this temporary theatrical settlement. The play may be about an innocent man who has been set up or maybe the play’s about a dinner with friends and a grand table has been set with fancy china and a centrepiece.
My favourite activity in general is to set out on a journey. No matter whether it is a voyage of the mind or a geographical adventure. I usually set a goal for my escapade but I’ve been known to be spontaneous. I might set my watch to keep track. Or better still, setting an alarm will help if I get lost in my thoughts.
I’m feeling like I need a reset. Being silly helps me settle my nerves after a distressing news story. It’s a good thing I enjoy playing around with words. I’ve read that reading & writing is a way to prevent early onset dementia. Tennis may appeal to some, but going for sunset walks with my sweetheart keeps me feeling like a winner.
Game. Set. Match.
Covid is a word that was not part of my vocabulary way back in December 2019. My blog postings are all about words that matter to me; words that create a thousand and one visuals in my brain; words that conjure up emotions and memories; words that have become as much a part of me as the bologna sandwiches I love to eat.
The word Covid has quickly found its way into dictionaries. Some may stick a number 19 onto it when they are speaking but I think the single C-word will persist throughout history. English language speakers regularly use about 20,000 words. Since December 2019, I suspect I’ve said Covid out loud every other day. Somedays I can’t stop talking about it. Here I’m writing about my thoughts using Covid as a subject heading. Some English words come and go depending on relevance I guess. My wife sometimes teases me when I use a word like Trousers. She’ll say, with her eyebrows raised up to her hair line, “What century are you from?” I’m not anywhere near fluent in other languages, so I’ll try to do justice to my birth tongue, I’ll tell her. I can also baffle my bride with future words like Levidrome. I’m part of a growing group who is promoting its inclusion in the dictionary. It has been a fun pastime during Covid to share puzzles online as a way to maintain a semblance of social contact. I wrote a whole blog page on Levidrome. https://catchmydrift.blog/2020/06/22/re-levidrome/
Language changes with the times. Those born with a cell phone in their hands may shake their heads in disbelief when reading about someone using a phone booth. My grandfather used to love to entertain my children with tales of when his farmhouse got a wall phone that had to be cranked by hand in order to get the switchboard operator. Covid life has quickly become a before/after experience for many people in a similar way that people talk of life before/after computers or other profound moments in history.
Due to Covid, I’m beginning to forget how it felt to be in a crowd, in a restaurant, on a plane. I’m imagining my sons trying to explain the differences between then/now to my wee grandchildren. Questions of what it was like ‘before’ are no doubt becoming something that teachers must anticipate. Lesson plans involving how to keep Covid exposure to a minimum will be padded with discussions of the way it used to be when we crammed into a classroom. As a career teacher many of my happiest moments were when I planned a school wide assembly with guest actors, speakers or for awards ceremonies where three hundred or more squirmy bodies experienced each other in the gym for an hour of collective fun. The thought of that now makes me gasp at the risk for viral exposure. We didn’t think twice about it then.
Five years from now how will we talk about Covid?