Warning: Major language nerdosity ahead.
There are a bunch of billboards around town right now. Advertising a new smartphone, they proclaim it “a bare-knuckled bucket of does.” Every time I pass, I think of deer. Every time. The ads suggest a certain dystopian menace, and does — as in a deer, a female deer — are not menacing creatures, for the most part. I’m not alone. Language consultant and blogger Nancy Friedman writes:
Only the tagline, buried at the bottom of the ad, solves the riddle: “In a world of doesn’t, Droid does.”
What we have here, folks, is anthimeria gone bad: a verb (third-person, present-tense to do) treated as a noun. And because said verb ends in an S and is spelled exactly the same as a real noun, we end up in a bucketful of don’t go there.
Anthimeria, I learn from further research, is the use of any word that’s normally one part of speech as another. For years I’ve been railing against impact — a NOUN, people, a NOUN — used as a verb: The cuts impacted the teacher’s union, or, if you really want to pile on the 21st century usage, The cuts negatively impacted the teacher’s union.
As frequently happens when the forces of good battle the forces of evil, however, we’re losing. A drugstore display I saw the other day:
In the case of the bucket of does, this might be one case where I’d advocate hip-hop spelling. At least it would make sense that way: bare-nuckled bucket o’ duz, yo.
OK, then. About once a week I feel the need to sleep in, and today was one of them. I’m getting a late start on a busy day, so we’re going to make today a grab bag of this ‘n’ that and links ‘n’ stuff. Ready? Let’s begin with that other always-evolving institution, marriage:
I’m wondering what it would do to the atmosphere at our breakfast table if I marched in one morning and said, I’m telling my lawyer I’d like a hefty seven-figure sum to stay with you. Probably it would crack everyone up, but that’s what you get when you don’t look like Mrs. Tiger Woods in a bikini — comedy.
Jim at Sweet Juniper had an eventful Thanksgiving. Read all about it. May I just pause here and thank the bloggers of the world who write about parenthood and family life as well as Jim does? Say what you will, but very few newspapers ever presented anything as wonderful as that brief essay. Parenthood — or, almost always, motherhood — was either presented Bombeck-style or Albom-style and very rarely like this.
I have a whole rant cued up for the Asian carp issue, probably not one that’s of interest to you people who live outside the Great Lakes, but I’ll spare you today. Just know that once again, we’re learning about the hazards of non-native species introduced into complex ecosystems. The hard way.
Gym, shower, crossword, shopping. I’ve got a whole bucket of does on line today. Have a good one.