Sunday, September 5, 2010

Did you hear about the Pickle Slicer?

Everyone is so hung up on job titles.  When they started wheeling PCs into the office, the guys who fixed the computers were referred to as "computer guys," but oh no! Now they are "information technology assistants."  The guy who changes the price signs in front of the Gas 'n' Gulp is an "external information administrator." 

I remember a buddy who enlisted in the Air Force, where he went on to have a distinguished career guarding vending machines.  But in his early days of boot camp, he and his fellow enlistees were asked by some sergeant, "Anybody here wanna be a pilot?"

Disregarding the old advice about volunteering for anything, my buddy John raised his hand, whereupon he was told to get a shovel and use that shovel on a pile of food waste and "pile it" in the dumpster.  

But on vacation, Peggy and I bought a little doodad from a little doodad shop, and I was talking to the cashier, who said she had been recently graduated from college with a teaching degree.

"Oh!," I said, out of my eternal interest in the homeroom of my mind.  "What are you going to teach?"

"Well, my major was physical education..."

"So you're going to be a gym teacher!" I said.  "That is really cool."

"I'm going to be a PHYS ED teacher," she not-too-gently reproached me.  From the look on her mug, you would have thought that I said she was going to be a drug dealer, strip club entertainer or Andrew Dice Clay gagwriter. I mean, she was mortally offended by the term "gym teacher" and I don't know why.  Is "gym" such a bad word that we can't bear to hear it uttered?  How many of us have stood in stuffy gymnasia from sea to shining sea, shuffling from right leg to left, being rudely addressed by someone rudely dressed, with a whistle punctuating their shouts?   I used to like the ones who raised their voices to indicate the use of a verb:

"You people WILL report to this class on time and you WILL be fully dressed in the regulation uniform and you will RUN from the locker room to the field and you will REMAIN SILENT unless spoken to.  Do you HEAR me?"

Of course Betty was a cheerleader!
You know who I always liked?  Coach Kleats from the Archie comics.  No whistle.  And he got to hang with guys named Archie, Moose, Reggie and Jughead!

I wish her the very best in her new career.  I only wish to remind her that it's not the name of what you do that's what you do that counts!

No comments: