wide blue shelf

wide blue shelf

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Have you ever just sat and thought about a word and its origins? I guess you wouldn't really have to be sitting. You could stand or lie down...or find some other position to be in. Well I was just doing so, sitting (sitting and lying down being my preferred thinking positions), and I thought to myself "The words 'header' and 'footer' are alot alike and have similar qualities and meanings, but 'butter' is completely unrelated". And then there's Chester, which is even more different. It's a name, for doing something out loud or for someone's sake. Which brings me to another point. Why are two very common phrases "For crying out loud" and "For Pete's sake"? Why would somebody do anything for crying out loud? Why would somebody do anything for crying at all? Why does it have to be out loud? What does it even mean to do something "for crying out loud"? Could it be "for crying 'out loud'", as if to actually yell "OUT LOUD!"? I don't understand. It doesn't make any sense. And then there's the other one. Why would people do things for Pete's sake? Who is Pete and why do I care about doing things for his sake? Is it Peter the desciple? That would make some sense, especially since two other phrases are the same except with "God" or "Christ" in place of Pete. But then why did whoever started these phrases shorten it to Pete? Did they do it in order to say fewer syllables or because they genuinely preferred the name Pete to Peter? And who's to say it's about Pete at all? Who's to say it's Pete and not peat, that swampy, grassy, mud stuff they seem to have an abundance of in Scotland? How do we know we don't do things for peat's sake? Who's to say? Who's to know?

That, for some reason, brings me to this point. I imagine many or most of you have heard the joke "If quizzes are quizzical, what are tests?". If you hadn't heard it before just then, I hope you enjoyed it. But my question is just that. What are tests? Obviously the immediate answer is not the correct one, given its entirely different meaning. I guess you could make up words to answer the question like testual, testular, or testitudinal, but that doesn't get you anywhere. What is the correct word to describe tests? The world may never know.

I just had another thought. Where does the word "midget" come from? If midgets are midgets, what are the rest of us? Are we midges and "midget" was originally "midgette", a more petite and dainty version of a midge?

I'll close with this. Which do you think came first, "easy" or "e-z"? In which case, why would someone use "e-z" to describe simple? Could it be because "e-z" would be "a-z" minus "a-d", meaning a smaller number of things and thusly less effort required to do? That makes a little sense if you think about it. I better get to bed. I have to get up early to get my brother to his early bird class, even though I'll still be on break for another couple of weeks and don't really have to get up for any other reason...except eating. I'd get up for that. Goodnight.


AfroRyan said...

That is probably the best post I have EVER read, and I don't suppose I will ever read something of that caliber again. I bow down before your complete and utter awesomeness.

Captain Jack said...

I'm glad you liked it. I guess I should write down some of my more abstract thoughts more often.