Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

"What's In A Name?"

 


As vast as the American English language is, we hardly need to supplement it with made up words, especially proper nouns that we have metamorphed into verbs. A typical example of this is a noun that we use and hear used as a verb almost every day: Xerox. Someone is always xeroxing something on the local copy machine. But if one were to stand on propriety, even the folks at Xerox couldn’t xerox anything, any more than the people at Canon could canon a copy, or the people at Hewlett Packard would want to hewlett something.

Many of us, during the summer, found ourselves out in the garden working vigorously with our weed eater to clean out the unnecessary foliage. But wait. Was it a Weed Eater we were using, or was it a trimming device made by Black and Decker, or one of the other corporations that have produced and sell instruments for clearing the weeds out of our garden?

There is a tendency in our usage of our language to lump products of a similar nature into the name, or noun, of the more popular or common member of the manufacturers of such items.

TRADE MARKS

Imagine how the folks at Chevrolet or Chrysler would feel if people called all automobiles fords? Such a fate did befall corn flakes, raisin bran and shredded wheat. Which is why the Kellog Company tries desperately to convince writers that Snap Crackle and Pop are registered trade marks which represent Rice Krispies—also a registered trade mark.

Tottering precipitously on the edge of losing their identity to common usage and shifting from proper nouns to common nouns are Clorox, Day Glo, Formica, Tobasco, and Frigidaire; who are close to joining lanolin, dry ice, linoleum, and escalator products whose identities degenerated from a proud trademark to common nouns used to describe a host of like products.

Coke is another brand name that is often used to refer to a variety of carbonated soft drinks. “Gimme a Coke,” says the thirsty customer. “What kind do you want,” asks the counter person, “Diet Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, or Seven Up?”

So far Florsheim doesn’t refer to all men’s footwear, although Reeboks are often used as synonyms for any number of athletic shoes.

Cuisinart is fighting desperately to avoid the fate which befell Mix Master; becoming a household word which describes a variety of food processors. So, too, does Kleenex hope to escape from being confused with every other nose tissue on the market. More power to them in their quest to avoid the fates of nylon and cube steaks. Not all blue jeans are Levis; but they’re headed in that direction.

CALL MANPOWER

The folks at Kelly Services are quick to point out that their employees are not just any temporaries. So if you want a Kelly Girl don’t call Manpower.

Likewise, Rolodex Corp. Wants you to think only of their product when you’re ready to purchase an organizer for your telephone numbers, and Spackle asks you to remember that when you’re headed for the hardware store to get something to patch up cracks and crevices, that there are a lot of products which may be suitable to the task, but there’s only one Spackle, spelled with an®.

Weight Watchers, Laundromat, Nutra Sweet, and TV Guide are also concerned about their identities, wishing not to meet the same fates as high octane, and yoyo in the graveyard of trademarks which used to have a specific identity; but are now generalities.

And talk about unintended consequences, look what happened to poor Thomas Crapper, who was also known as “John.” He's the poor chap who, in the 1800s improved on what was then called the “water closet.” Tinkering around with the mechanisms that operated the early flush toilet he created the convenience that still bears his name--in less sophisticated circles.

Maybe Juliet was on to something when she asked: “What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet. . . .”

WHO'S ON FIRST?

Who” program alive and well

The time has been changed to 10:30 a..m.

The focus hasn't changed: It's still important information for senior citizens, through a program entitled: “Who's Lookin' out for You?”

The place is relatively new: Cara Vita Village at the end of Fieldcrest Drive.

The day of the week; however, has been moved from Tuesdays to Wednesday.

Midway through the month Gazette publisher Loretta Grant filled in for ailing Mark Springer, Jackson Hospital's ailing patient services representative; and Assistant Attorney General Monica Sheeler closed out the month with some advice on avoiding wrongdoers.

STARTING OFF - In July, the program gets under way on July 2, when Beverly Perkins, et al. Will be there to tell about what the Montgomery Area Council on Aging provides at the Archibald Center on Jefferson Street in downtown Montgomery.

WEEK TWO - July 9, Susan Segrest and some of her merry madcaps will be at Cara Vita to walk you through the new Elder Abuse Tool Kit. You won't want to miss this important program. Folks have been working long and hard to assemble this essential part of a senior's “must have” information.

MID-MONTH - July 16, Prof. John Craft, who teaches law at Faulkner University, and has been a stalwart in the development of the Elder Abuse Task Force, will be at Cara Vita at 10 a..m. to discuss legal matters of concern to Golden Agers.

FOURTH WEEK - July 23, the two, new Ombudspersons for the Central Alabama Aging Consortium will be here to talk about their roll in lookin' out for the well being of our senior population. A lot is being done in this regard, so don't miss this one. Come and meet Monica Barnes and Laura Runyan.

AND SO ENDS JULY

July 30, Wrapping up the month, Dr. Tom Geary, who heads the Bureau of Health Provider

Standards for the State, will share with his audience information about the standards providers of services to seniors must meet, and share with you other information about how he and his staff may be of help.

And that wraps up July, as our program gets under way at its new location: Cara Vita Village; and at its new time: Wednesdays at 10 a.m. See you there!

 

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