My pet peeves are not many. In truth I’m not sure if I would even classify them as “pet peeves.” In a day and age when so many things are not correct, offensive or corrected by others, is the pet peeve even a thing anymore?
As I type this, I wonder if I’ll receive an e-mail from an all-knowing informing me of my misuse of the phrase, the why and the who I’m offending. That seems to be where we’re going in these current times and it’s quite honestly mind blowing on the daily.
Yet back to the topic at hand.
One of the few things that has a tendency to get under my skin is laziness by use of language. As I often remind my children, words are my livelihood. The good news/bad news for them is, because of such fact, sentence structure and punctuation in correspondence with others is looked upon by mom.
The first time my daughter said (as in verbally out loud) “LOL” to me, well - we had a talk. I mean she was actually saying, “laugh out loud.” Now while I realize in this modern era that might be a phrase for this mother of two it seemed a laziness by way of use of language.
Now for the older set, it’s easy to make this a generational thing. That does seem to be a tendency after all for those raising children or family members of those growing up in a time which looks absolutely nothing like our own childhood.
When I say that, I’m referring of course to technology and its impact on the world. In short, everything now is instant. From what song you want to hear, a new pair of shoes, groceries or take-out food … waiting is simply a thing of the past.
Yet I digress, as this is about language. We’ll explore the downfall of the art of waiting another day.
Last week as I heard the news of President Biden declaring Juneteenth a federal holiday, my confusion set in.
As is the regular for me, I consulted with my teenage son, why the name “Juneteenth,” versus all the other options? July 4th after all is known as Independence Day, September 11th, Patriot Day; you get the picture.
True to his generation, my son quickly explained it was the blend of the month and the date (June 19th) recognizing the Emancipation (End of) Slavery. While I have absolutely no issue with the President’s decision for such a noteworthy day, the name just boggled my mind.
Again, words are my life. A simple one which so many say without second thought I couldn’t understand.
As is customary for my generation, I quickly assumed this was yet again the work of the “LOL” Generation. My son patiently trying to explain the blend of the two words, with my rebuttal of the same could hold true for June 15th through 18th and the comparison to the above mentioned holidays.
True to his personality and patience he simply gave me a shrug and shared “not sure.” So off to Google I went and boy was I wrong about this word which spawned a lot of family conversation.
For those like myself (aka uninformed) “Juneteenth” was first derived in 1865 when Texas Union Army General Gordon Granger proclaimed that all slaves in Texas were free on June 19.
Imagine that, a marriage of words which is now such commonplace, first established over 150 years ago.
Okay, I also realize for some of you, if you’ve read this far, you may be saying, “Come on Teresa. What’s the point? You’ve wasted my time.”
The point and the lesson, if you will, is regardless of our age, tenure or life experience, we always have the potential to learn. Had I not googled, I’d still be putting this newly named holiday on the LOL generation.
Everyone seems to be okay with the “Juneteenth” name, which honestly I feel takes from the significance for the masses. It’s so much more than a date on a calendar; it’s in fact the acknowledgement of a pivotal day in our history.
For now, I’m grateful for both the lesson, as well as the eye opening. We have so much to learn from one another, regardless of age.
As my mom once shared, wisdom has nothing to do with age and boy was she right.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 209-847-3021.