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ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY: For the love of words

© Another Day in the Country

I’m not sure where the love of words began. Maybe it was in first grade when I first learned to decipher them and waited impatiently for the rest of the kids in the room to catch on. Maybe it was the first time I received a love letter from my first boyfriend at 16. Maybe it was in college when I learned shorthand and the fun of trying to decipher the symbol you’d scratched in haste on the notebook and are now trying to have make sense. Words have always fascinated me in a way that was hard to explain.

In this day and age when texting seems the most important means of communicating, and words are shortened, abbreviated, and replaced with acronyms, I’m still hung up on words and reading words as subtitles is my latest form of entertainment.

As I told you, I’ve been going to a health club to exercise and I discovered what lots of people already know: the exercise time flies when you are watching television. Forty-five minutes can go by in a flash; I’m just pedaling away going four, five, six miles when my mind is caught up with what’s happening on the screen rather than how tired I’m getting.

What’s really fascinating, however, is not the show I’m watching, it’s the person who is writing the subtitles as they speak. I swear, English is not their first language and the mistakes they make are better than a comedy show.

“What’s so funny?” my sister asks as she walks past after doing her 30 minutes on the cross trainer. “It’s these subtitles,” I say breathlessly, “they are a hoot.”

I’m watching Rachel Ray at 9 o’clock in the morning with the sound off, of course. They don’t want to annoy people with sound from three TVs interrupting the flow.

“You’re looking grate,” the host says welcoming her guest, “in your Ann Mall print.” I’m chuckling. This is really a word game, called “What did the person really say?” They wrote, “Ann Mall,” like you’d say Chanel. Hint, hint, the guest is wearing a zebra striped shirt — aha, it’s an “animal print.” Already the scribe is on to another mistake. “You are so wbpdksch,” reads the subtitle. I give up! I guess that was just a glitch on the keyboard.”

This particular subtitle writer doesn’t like commercials evidently, so all the commercials are subtitle free! “A person after my own heart,” I think. I’d like them doing subtitles for me at home, since I rarely want to see, let alone hear, a commercial.

We’re back. “Have you had mourning sickness?” The Talk Show host asks her pregnant guest. “No,” is the answer, “neither did my mother. I guess it’s just Her ed Tea.” What a hoot.

The interview continues, “I have a new line of twem …” What? What? I can’t read their lips because I’m reading the silly subtitles. Later I get a hint because we’re told to expect a “beauty mint,” and I’m guess they are talking about skin care. I think I’m right because they are offering more information about her “anti-abling” system which is definitely “wort the weight.” By this time I’ve grabbed a pen out of my bag and a piece of paper and I’m scribbling fast (while I keep pedaling). Who would believe this?

Now I’m told that the cute outfits I’m seeing are for “thoebs” (I’m guessing teens since the girls looked like 5th graders) and assured they look cool with “roflz” (ruffles?) and “Kaherlz” (could it be curls? Were we talking about hair?). I dunno; but I don’t give up.

After I got home, I found myself having trouble figuring out what I’d actually written. “What is this?” I’m mumbling to myself, “Kwoeris?” Aha, here’s something I remember: “This only take’s 34 (really they said three or four) minutes,” says the guest. “Dagmund raly” are a girl’s best friend.

This morning at the health club, I couldn’t locate the clicker to change channels and I was stuck with 24-hour news — all bad, of course. There was something new. A budget committee came with a proposal to lower the “Deaf Sit.” It’s another day in the Con Tree, and I’m just giggling away as I petal. But, hey, I got so excited about all this I went 6.5 miles in 40 minutes.

Last modified March 21, 2012

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