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3.08.2012

THE BIRD

There are many things in our culture that I am beyond curious about.  Neologism, is the word that best describes a cultural adaptation or skewedness of a familiar word with something new.  Neo in Greek means new, and logos means speech or utterance.  Kids use neologisms frequently, especially as they are developing their hearing, perception and vocal skills.  Culture uses them too with slang phrases or culturalisms unique to a certain period of time usually influenced by whatever is naturally occurring in society at that moment.  Neologisms are used in theology as well in how things are interpreted or redoctrinized to others.  They are also used in science and technology.  For instance, the word radar (1941) and even Internet (1974) were created words used to describe something new.  Even literature uses neologisms.  Calling someone a "scrooge" (after the main character in a Charles Dickens book) is an example.  They are made-up-invented words.  Now whether they stand the test of time is up to the cultural embrace they get.  Right now my dear friend, Big D, has stopped reading this post declaring she hates information and definitions of words.  Even though the word neologism refers to cultural adaptions of words via definitions in literature, science, technology, theology or every day speech, let's use it in a much broader context.  Our culturalisms go beyond words to gestures, looks.  Yesterday on my drive to work I was prompted to think of this cultural wave of made up words and actions that have definitions.  Though their origins are sometimes unknown, their impliedness (a sort of neologism word) is clearly gotten by most people under the age of 90.  Pulling up to a three lane, 4 stop light intersection that I drive weekly, I am in the middle lane (turn left  only lane to my left, the second straight or turn right lane to my right).  You know the routine to those stop lights; left arrow first and then as it turns to either red or just a plain green (no arrow) ,the straight lanes turn green.  For whatever reason yesterday the stoplights were not working properly.  As a default, they had changed to FLASHING RED.  Mind you, I am 45 years old and driver's education was some 30 years ago, but if I retained anything, that means it becomes a 4 directional stop - like if it were a stop sign.  You take turns going.  Nearing the intersection there is one car ahead me sitting at the light in my lane, and one car sitting in the right lane to my right.  The light clearly flashing red, they continued to sit there clueless that the stoplight was not working and that an adaptive system was now in place involving the driving skills and intelligence of all 4 directions.  The other 3 directions stopped, looked and took turns moving through the intersection.  Not the two cars ahead of me.  After sitting behind their stupidity for sometime I honked lightly and pointed to the light trying to get the driver ahead of me to understand it was now a 4 direction stop and go!  He was driving a piece of shit car and sporting, what soon appeared to be most of his intelligence in his finger, as he flipped me off while finally moving through the intersection.  I don't like to be hurried.  I sure didn't mean to piss him off, but was merely trying to get him to understand something that he obviously didn't as he had sat there for several minutes unnecessarily.  I laughed out loud in the car at what that gesture implies when done to a man.  I laughed even harder at the choice I could take that gesture as since I was a woman and anatomically had another option down there!  Then I just got pissed!  What inconsiderate pig of a man flips a woman off when he was at fault for his stupidity in paying attention to his driving surroundings.  From there I wondered who invented that gesture and what event, mixed with something familiar as well, had precipitated it being used for the first time.  Then following those thoughts I wondered, much like neologisms, why culture had perpetuated and embraced this gesture so whole-heartedly.  Though I must admit his asinine behavior did momentarily make me want to plant my foot in his ass! 

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