By RICHARD SHAW Emery County Progress publisher
Kids have great imaginations and sometimes it is hard as an adult to remember ones own thoughts and feelings as a child. But some of those do hang on. I can still remember how naive I was about so many things (as I still am about some) and how I thought everyone in the world was a good person. But if there was one overwhelming feeling in my imagination I always wished to have super powers.
I started collecting and reading comic books at the age of eight. I had a few before that, but mostly Disney stuff and some Archies. It was when I was eight that I discovered heros like The Flash, Green Lantern and of course Superman, who I had seen on television for years, but had not related to the comic books until then. With that came the idea of being able to have super powers. Things like being able to fly, x-ray vision, super speed and super strength were idolized in my young mind.
It was about that same time that comics changed and characters with real personality flaws began to appear on the pages. Those types of characters were really pioneered by Marvel Comics with such characters as the Fantasic Four, the X-Men, Iron Man and of course the most flawed of all, Spiderman.
Also introduced in comic books in those years were human beings with single powers, some with them really dumb abilities. They often were cast off characters who had only one power that really wasn't worth much in relativity to the big heros. Along came guys or gals that could turn bodies of water into stone, could freeze anything with their hands (but only if the object to be iced had a temperature over 100 degrees), those that had flying ability but only when the sky was cloudy, those that could eat like a bird (I mean literally), etc. etc. etc. There were some really stupid powers, or what I thought were when I was young.
OK, so I got older, now a lot older and I look back at those days and realize what an imagination I had. But a spark of that strange world is still there in me. The other day I realized I would still like a super power, but nothing like what I had ever seen portrayed before. What I want is the ability to change the name of things and people.
With that super ability I would be able to change the name of something with a thought. The written word would change in every book, magazine, newspaper and blog in the world. It would also change in peoples minds.
We all have names of things and words we don't like. So I could change those to my liking. For instance I have never liked the name Moscow. Sounds to me like a cow who stood in the pasture a little too long in the rain and turned green. I know that's not the origin of the word, but I don't like it anyway. What I would change it to would be another question. I know of three cities named this. Obviously the one in Russia, and one each in Idaho and Pennsylvania. I am sure we could find better names for all of them. What about Cold City, Spudtown and Quakerville?
But there is much more. Working in the newspaper business I see a lot of strange names and often get yelled at about the fact that we spelled them wrong in an article or in a caption in the paper. I would revert every odd spelled name (on the basis of what I consider status quo) to the normal spelling. That would make my, and my fellow writers life a lot easier.
I would make it so no high school in the state could have the same name for their mascot as another. I mean how many Eagles, Tigers and Mustangs do we need. Each of those names represent six high school mascots in Utah. It makes it hard when writing sports (You know "The Tigers took the ball to the 23 yard line when a Tiger down field made the big play to stop him before he reached the Tigers end zone.") There should a registry that allows only the use of one name and I would make it so. I would also do away with mascot names that have gender tied to them. I mean how do you write about a school that has a womens team where the mascot is the Redmen (Cedar High). Do you call them the Lady Redmen?
Next I would change the name of articles and things that have the same name but when used in speech can be utilized to mean different things, sometimes embarrassingly so. Take the word thong for instance. When I was a kid thongs were a shoe with a strap that ran between the big and small toe and at that point split. They were basically an open sandal. Today everyone calls them flip-flops. But if I still call them a thong such as uttering "Where are my thongs?" when my grandkids are present, they laugh, thinking that I have some kind of fancy underwear laying around. And I am sure they don't even want to picture their fat old grandpa in such garb. To make it more complicated, if you are a computer geek you also know that flip-flop can mean a bit counter that is used in solid state memory systems. It just goes to show that one word should only mean one thing. That would be my take on it and I would fix that throughout the English language.
And finally (well not probably because I could find other ways to use the power as well) would be names of people I just don't like. If I didn't like a person I would give them some really bad name, one that would cause derision and ridicule. I would also change the names of anyone with names of old girl friends who dumped me, people who cheated me and the bullies that hung me up by my shorts on a coat hook in my old elementary school hall.
See at first glance it didn't seem like much of a power did it. I certainly could see money coming from industry to fix communication problems and from language experts to sort out consternation in speech. But most of all I could stand on street corners and threaten to stick people with names like Adolf Hitler and Bernie Madoff if they didn't give me 10 bucks. I know it would be considered extortion, a word I don't like, but I could change that too.
I know this is silly, but hey the world (particularly that of those of political aspirations) always seems to be caught up in semantics, so why not have someone who can fix it? And why not me?