Such was the monotonous refrain of futility as my mother tried to inculcate “th’s” into the vocabulary of 30 (or should I say, “turty”?) young men. Fadda Fox would have been proud. It somehow wouldn’t seem appropriate to refer to the singer of a ducking song as “father” now, would it? But the paternal reference is perhaps a matter of social epistemology; or maybe it simply stems from non-traditionalist attitudes towards language. Something old, something new?!?
So, we have Father Paul, but Faddah Crab. Even when, in 2010, Father Paul put paper to pen and tried a kaiso back then, he was still “father”. Whichever designation you choose, this weekend is yours, if you’re a father, fadda or even faddah. But – just to go a little farther – what was fodder for my friend’s mother was the fact that a woman won the King Of The Grill competition at last week’s Man Up!
Elaine Kanerva-McDowall had the nerve and sinew to grill the men at their own game! Talk about woman power! I wonder if she’s a mother or a mudda? Nevertheless, she came out on top and I know Hoadie would have a lot to say about that one tonight, when I visit him at Cherry Tree Hill. I’ll leave that there for now.
Maybe I focus too much on words, but it’s very interesting to look at the direction, evolution and even discombobulation of language. Some say words aren’t so important at the end of the day. But I beg to differ. Let me give you two examples of how slight differences make a big difference.
Froot of the Loom
Gran loved to travel in her heyday; and used to bring back all the niceties from America. All Omar wanted was some new jockeys to replace his holey underwear. Although not a priest, but also not wanting to irreverently write, “jockey shorts” on the list, he instead wrote, “Froot of the Loom.” Two weeks later, Gran returned smiling, with a duffel bag filled with Omar’s “requests”. Want to know what was in the bag? Boxes of cereal! Froot Loops, to be exact!
Then there is Tombo. You may remember him. At four-score and some, I was impressed but also concerned when he told me, “I much prefer stock over bonds.” After all, I had decided to take the advice of the good Governor Worrell and get into some bondage last week. I was at Tombo’s sprawling St Lucy acreage and began to wonder why the old man would have such a preference.
“You see heifers, goat and even sheep, you cyaaaaaah go wrong with dat! I ain’t putting my money in no bonds. Livestock, Dr Vee, dat is the way to invest!”
Preferred stock. Livestock. Froot of the Loom. Froot Loops. Fadda. Father.
But at least those are actual English words. Let’s not get started with names! Or, let’s just start but not necessarily finish. My name is Veoma. I’ve been called Naomi, Verona, Veronica, Fiona, Viola . . . .
Veoma Ali is an author, broadcaster, advertising exec and, most important, a karaoke lover.