English is a Stupid Language

Originally published on

[inline:1]Yesterday, the wife and I went out to accomplish a few things and on the way we stopped to explore the new mall that's near our house. Now, to be honest, the Eastridge Mall is not actually new. In fact, it's close to 35 years old, and when it was built it was the largest enclosed mall west of the Mississippi. This means, of course, that until recently it was kind of a dump because malls are among the things don't seem to age very well.

Well, they've completely redone Eastridge and they've turned the inside into La Ritz. Very shiny and sparkly with lots of nice little art and architecture, catwalks that go hither and yon, tile, high ceilings and all of the things that tell shoppers, "Hey, we spent a lot of money on this place, we want it to look nice so you'll come here and think you have to spend a lot of money too!" And that's an ok thing, if you ask me, because I like pleasant places.

As is often the case with major upgrade projects like this, construction delays have really screwed up the planning. Here it is in October, and the whole thing was supposed to be re-opened with new anchor stores, a giant brand new theatre (which is great, as there are no convenient theatres here in the barrio) a Barnes & Noble (which is extra great since there are seriously no decent bookstores near here -- What's up with that, anyway? Does nobody read in the barrio?) and a few other well-recognized shopping names. Hooray Shopping!

As a side benefit, they completely redid the bathrooms. The area is now very spacious, covered with marble-looking tile, and it has a nice big sort of lobby area with sofas and tables. The lobby is flanked by two giant Family Bathrooms (because the kids can't go without mommy watching -- Let's take the whole family peeing! Now that's an outing all its own, right there!) and there’s also a Nursing Station.

But then there’s one room with the very curious sign at the door: Baby Changing.

I can't tell if that's a warning (Look out! The baby is changing into kidzilla! Run for your lives!) or a free service. Do they mean baby exchanging? (I'll give you Timmy and Sally for little Alfonso over there!) Or perhaps you can take your sprog in for an upgrade. One leg too short? No problem! Come to the baby changing room, we'll take care of it. Don't like those blue eyes? We can handle it! Eyes custom made while you watch!

The most disturbing part, though, is the little picture over the sign (well, and the Braille beneath it) that sort of looks like a baby in three pieces, but it could also be a baby whose lower body has just been vaporized and is now just a smoke cloud, or is launching into space. We do need a replacement for the Space Shuttle, perhaps this is the future! Baby Boomers indeed.

I know, I know. At this point you're saying I'm being stupid. Obviously, they mean diaper changing. Now see, that I get. Change the baby's diaper. But what's wrong with the word diaper, anyway? Changing a diaper is a lot different from changing a baby. Okay, in this case they are exactly the same thing but if you think about the phrases you're led to imagine this nice, plastic container. When your baby is soiled, you unwrap the baby, toss the kid into the trash, and pull a fresh baby out of the box! Or, if you're environmentally friendly, you leave the dirty baby in the bin to be washed and reused later.

Perhaps I'm over-reacting to this sign, but I do find it ludicrous. What does the phrase baby changing really mean? The progressive form of change, without any identifier for tense could mean the baby is changing right now (watch out for the baby werewolf!) or that you take the baby there for changing. Or that babies who go there automatically change!

Which leads me to another question: If babies are lycanthropes and become werewolves, are the werewolves still babies? In other words, are they werepuppies? And are werepuppies vicious or cute? What happens if you play fetch with a werepuppy? Will he fetch the ball or your arm? It's questions like these that keep me up at night. Insomnia is a terrible thing.

English really is a stupid language. Maybe that's why nobody reads in the barrio.

By Talita (not verified) on August 19, 2008 - 5:55am.

fantastic the part on the baby changing room!!!

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <em> <strong> <code> <del> <blockquote> <q> <sub> <p> <br> <pre> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <a> <b> <u> <i> <sup> <img>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options