Is now a word!


March 30, 2011|By TIM ROWLAND

The saddest guy in the room is always the old dude who’s trying to act young.

Doesn’t always have to be a dude, I suppose, as anyone who’s ever heard a middle-age housewife exclaim, “This Bundt cake looks awesome” can attest. I’ve heard more than one woman who ought to have consigned herself to bedroom slippers and a shawl say, “It feels like I’m on the go 24/7.”

But the person I really have in mind is the guy with round spectacles and bow ties. The personification of half sandwich and soup. Heart pounds with excitement when he watches the Golf channel, although he’s usually tuned into CSPAN.

The problem is that even though he drives a sensible car, he hasn’t given up on one day owning a sports car, and as such, he fancies himself to be cooler than he is. So he’s always trying to do these incredibly daring things to prove his youthfulness, like taking off his cardigan sweater and tying it around his waist.

He listens to alternative music that he really hates; he’s the one who always winds up buying beer for the teenagers, hoping to earn their respect — not realizing that they make fun of him for being a stooge the second he turns his back.

This pathetic, aging, desperate-to-be-relevant man is the Oxford English Dictionary.

The dictionary, you remember it, right? Probably last saw it in fifth grade. Right next to the pencil sharpener.

Well, the newly with-it Oxford “Whaddup?” Dictionary announced last week that it was adding to its storied pages the “words” IMHO, muffin top, LOL, OMG, BFF and even the heart symbol that goes in between I and NY.

So there you have it. The consummate nerd takes a stab at being cool. And all it’s going to cost is our vowels. But really, why do you even need a dictionary for this?

“How do you spell LOL?”

“Hold on, I’ll look it up.”

Aside from throwing Scrabble players everywhere into a state of flux, I really can’t think who Oxford is out to impress. “Hang wit me sista, I’m a lot more down with the G’s than those stuffy old coots over at Merriam-Webster.”

I saw one writer who really went off on this topic, saying the venerable old resource had embarrassed itself and sold its soul to the illiterate world of texting teens.

I was young and strong once, and would have carried this woman’s banner with zeal. Today, however, I am too old and tired. I sit staring off into space and picking lint out of my muffin top and wondering if it matters.

IMHO, the English language should just surrender now, before she becomes some hideously deformed venereal carrier that those of us who once cared for her can no longer recognize as the tony, sophisticated hostess of civilization that she once was.

Just let her go. Let these young, technological wonders continue to devolve back to the days of the caveman when communication was a series of scratchmarks and grunts and the closest thing to a book was a fan of flint chips on the back of an armadillo hide.

I never could spell anyway, so what do I care? I don’t get paid by the word. Or, as Oxford would have it, IDGPBTW. So maybe I shouldn’t look at it the destruction of a language I once held dear. Maybe I should consider that Oxford is just trying to simplify my life.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via e-mail at Tune in to the Rowland Rant at, on or on Antietam Cable’s WCL-TV Channel 30 at 6:30 p.m. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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