We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
Then shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn’t the plural of booth be called beeth?
Then one may be that, and three would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!
Let’s face it – English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren’t invented in England ..We take English for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square, and a
guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing,grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend. If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English could be running the danger of being called verbally insane.
In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
We ship by truck but send cargo by ship.
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?
You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which an alarm goes off by going on.
And, in closing, if Father is Pop, how come Mother’s not Mop?
What I find almost amusing, if it wasn’t a serious issue, is this whole concept of recycling.
When I was a kid, my mother would sent me to the local store to buy groceries. I always took a large cloth shopping bag. She kept one in a closet in the kitchen solely to keep vegetables in.
I would go to the greengrocer, and get the potatoes first. They went into the bottom. Not wrapped up, you understand, just loose potatoes from the greengrocers scale pan. Then the other vegetables went on top.
After that I would go next door to the bakers and get the bread. Fresh baked earlier that morning, unsliced. It would be put in a brown paper bag. My mother used those paper bags, along with some greaseproof paper, to wrap my fathers sandwiches for work.
I’d perhaps have to go to the grocers to get some ham and cheese, again it was wrapped in paper. The same at the butchers. No plastic wrap in sight.
Milk was delivered to the door step each day in glass bottles, that we put outside when empty which the milkman took away again to re-used, sterilized, and re-filled with more fresh milk. If we bought soda, it was in a glass bottle, on which we paid a few pennies deposit, and got back when we took the bottles back.
If my father went to the hardware store for four screws, he got just that. Four screws. We also had a local tailor and shoe-mender. New zips got put into pants, and soles on shoes, socks got darned. Oh, and if the TV or radio developed a fault, there was a nice man in another store that would usually be able to fix it for us.
Now, fast forward 40 years.
We go to the supermarket across town, using gas to get there. The potatoes are in a plastic bag, as are all the other vegetables, and the bread. The ham, cheese, and meat, and in sealed containers now. The milk is in a large plastic carton. Soda is in cans, and PET bottles.
Those hardware items like screws now usually come in a plastic container of 48 screws, that practically takes wire cutters to open, or cut fingers if trying to do it by hand.
Tailor? Get a zip sewn in? Heck, no, throw the pants away, and get a new pair! Same with the TV. It’s lasted 3-4 years, it’s time for a newer, bigger, higher definition one anyway. That one can go to the dump.
Now, there’s all this clamor for recycling projects and plans. It’s good. Sure. But, what about cutting back on some of that plastic? Do we need to have so much packaging? What about using glass again, and re-using the bottles?
Surely if we were to re-adopt some of those ideas from 40 years ago, we’d have a lot less going in the landfill to start with? That’s before we start spending more money on any other municipal recycling schemes.
Tags: butchers, cloth bags, fresh milk, garbage, glass bottle, glass bottles, greaseproof paper, greengrocer, groceries, grocers, hardware store, local store, milkman, new york times, nice man, paper bags, plastic carton, plastic wrap, recycling, shopping bag, soles, trash, waste, zips