I like buzzwords. You know, those words that define some newish concept that makes a splash when it enters our culture. But I’m the kind of guy who is often unclear on the meaning of newish concepts. They’re usually related to technology or business, areas in which my knowledge is somewhat behind the curve (<—buzzphrase!).
When hi-tech or business pioneers blaze a new buzzword-worthy path, I’m the guy waiting at the juncture where it diverged from the old path. I’m content to hang around until the paving crew comes by to turn it into a serviceable road.
In the meantime, most of society is whizzing along those paths, using wonderful-sounding words like “synergy” and “paradigm shift” and “scalability.”
Now, I could stop one of those people and ask them what the heck those words mean but that would mean entering into a conversation with a geek. Big words would start filling up the thought balloons in my head and before you know it, I’d begin tipping over and have to go lie down. No sirree Bob.
My solution is to make up the meanings. I find it comforting to use words that mean what you want them to mean. (But for the life of me, I don’t get why shifting a couple of dimes from one pocket to another became such a radical concept. We used to call it “pocket pool” and we didn’t need money to play.)
When I got the idea that this column is (eventually) going to be about, I just knew there was a buzzword out there to describe it. But for the longest time, the word balanced on the tip of my brain, jiggling and wiggling just out of reach, like a cherry on a bowl of jello in old Aunt Edna’s hands.
I knew it meant “come together” and jotted down the word “confluence”- but with a question mark beside it because it didn’t feel right.
I wanted the word that meant what’s happening all around me, in various aspects of my world. Like this:
Many of the stores I’m used to shopping in are changing. They’re selling all kinds of stuff they never used to sell before. Zellers and Wal-Mart, department stores, now sell groceries and pharmaceuticals. Shoppers Drug Mart, a pharmacy, now sells CDs, as well as some groceries and snacks and books.
Every store is starting to sell every thing. Pretty soon you won’t be able to tell them apart. It’s kind of scary but it seems to be the way of things.
Another example that illustrates the word I was seeking:
Cell phones have become cameras and music players. Or vice versa. One remote control turns on your tv and your microwave and your computer and makes your bed. Pretty soon one giant...thing - humming with electricity - will cook, clean, raise our children, entertain us and do our taxes.
And suddenly, the word occurred to me.
Things that were once separate, becoming one. Like marriage but without the anguish.
For several months now, I’d jot down ideas and then decide if I should do a column or a blog. You’d think such decisions would be easy. And for a person whose thought balloons aren’t easily filled and tippy, they probably are easy. But I’d wrestle with them and fret until I got the idea that you’ve probably figured out by now.
Yep, I’m going to merge my column and blog and that’s going to mean some (hopefully not-too-scary) changes.
Those of you who prefer to read me via email will still be able to do so. I know there are quite a few of you who read the column at work where email is okay but surfing the net (to read a blog) is not. Those of you who read my column but not my blog, may be somewhat dismayed to find that my percentage of non-humourous jottings will increase. I tend to cover more bases in my blog, though most of the time I keep it on the light side too.
Instead of arriving in your mailbox on Thursdays, the new, converged me may arrive any day, at any time. Some columns may be longer than the usual 800-ish words, many will be shorter. I’ll be getting back to approximately a weekly schedule again and may sometimes send off a couple in a week.
Because the blog lends itself to showing photographs much more easily than an email, I will still be including the link with every issue. (Occasionally, I do a blog entry that’s almost entirely photographs.) I’ll give a heads-up in email when there’s something visible at the blog site that isn’t in the mailed version. And, of course, those of you on the email list will be able to marvel at the spiffy banners designed by Hilary at Dejablues Designs while blog readers, alas, will just have to look at the same darn pic every single time.
As always, I welcome comments, via email or on the blog itself. I’m going to be away from a computer for the next three or four days though, so please forgive my delayed replies.
I’m going to be empowering myself while converging with nature and offshoring with my fishing rod.