The English language, like anything that has truly gone global, has regional differences.
Think about what bread looks like, depending upon the country it came from (compare baguette to focaccia to pumpernickel, for example). Or how differently noodles look, depending upon where in the world you find them (spaghetti to pad thai).
English has morphed and shifted to encompass experiences and expressions that are specific to a place and a time. No one is “square” any more, for example, nor does anyone west of New Brunswick understand what a “sooky” child is. We can learn and enjoy these differences and celebrate the quirks that come with the varied interpretations. What we cannot (or, at least, should not) do is mock or co-opt.
All of which brings me to the wide, wonderful world of words. The one word that keeps presenting itself to me to perfectly encapsulate my reaction to the entirely unexpected discovery that this family hoards packaging is one that is not generally a part of Canadian English.
Is that not the best word in the entire world? Gob – like mouth, smacked – like hitting oneself in the mouth because one is just so absolutely knocked out by a turn of events that the only possible action is to clap one’s hand over one’s mouth in complete and utter astonishment?
I’ve been smacking myself repeatedly in my gob since this entire project has started. But the ever-helpful Merriam-Webster tells me that this word is, ahem, “chiefly British.” Therefore, I will put it to you that I have been astonished, horrified, shocked, bowled-over, flabbergasted, and rattled to my core to discover that one heck of a lot of the storage/shelf/FLOOR space in this house is apparently occupied by packages for stuff.
Rather than look back on all the boxes and packages I’ve already gone through (you can do that yourself, friend), I will limit myself to today’s discoveries: 2 iPod boxes, a box for a Kobo, and a cell phone box. My guess is that each of the aforementioned packages were kept just in case. You know – if the kids get tired of having iPods, say, and there is absolutely no possible way to return the original item other than to place it back into its original packaging. Oh sure, I hear what you’re saying (because I’m creepy that way) sometimes that is exactly the case. I am going to put forth the radical idea that the iPod you bought over a year ago, and the other one you bought a year before that, and the Kobo you got your son for finishing elementary school (3 years ago) and the cellphone that you’ve had longer than you’re willing to admit…you can probably let go of the packaging.
I think that, from now on, when we purchase a new doodad, thingamajig or whatchamacallit we need to take a wee piece of paper, a large black marker, and write down the date upon which we purchased said item. Then, we can apply the paper to the exterior of the box and, after a decent interval, recycle that puppy.
Incidentally, I say “exterior” because apparently Clara found and decorated the interior of the Kobo box at some point in the forgotten past. This was her pen period, and not worth of posterity (no, no photos, back off!).
Day 25 Scorecard: 130 down, 1695 to go.