by John Norberg, humor columnist s

Everything is changing today. Even words.

A lot of new words are coming into our vocabulary. For example, my dictionary dates back to when I was in college and the word "multitasker" does not appear in it.

But you see the word multitasker used all the time today to describe our life style. We have all become multitaskers.

This means we are so busy that even if we work all day every day, we can't finish all the things we need to do. So we have to do several tasks at the same time.

This multitask working is actually leading to even more new words.

For instance, we now have the term "desktop diner" to describe people who work through lunch at work and eat at their desk. "Dashboard diners" eat while they drive. Indigestion diners eat while they watch the evening news.

Of course, doing two tasks at once today isn't enough to accomplish all we have to do. So we have chatting dashboard diners, or people who talk on the cell phone and eat while driving the car.

We even have reading, chatting dashboard diners to describe people who look through the paper, talk on the phone and eat while driving in the car.

Finally we have dialing, reading, chatting, dashboard diners to describe people who call a tow truck to haul away the car they wrecked while reading the newspaper, talking on the telephone and eating while they drive.

We're even worse about multitasking around the house.

Woman talking to friend on the telephone: "You wouldn't believe what happened at work today. Stop hitting your brother in the living room! You might break a bone or a lamp or something."

Friend: "You hit your brother in the living room at work?"

Woman: "No, I'm watching the kids while I cook dinner and I called you while I'm waiting for the water to boil. Oh no, that's way too hot."

Friend: "The water?"

Woman: "No the iron. I'm ironing clothes."

Friend: "So you're ironing clothes, cooking dinner, watching the kids and talking on the telephone, all at the same time? How do you keep it all straight?"

Woman: "Just a minute. I have to take the clothes out of the dyer and the other telephone is ringing. Are you watching the news on TV? Can you believe this?"

Friend: "What's going on over there? It sounds like a car is starting."

Woman: "Yeah, I have to drive my son to soccer practice. But that's okay, it'll give me a chance to pay a few bills and balance my checkbook."

Friend: "Why did you call me?"

Woman: "I need your advice. I feel tired all the time and I don't know why."

She's just going to have to find a way to multitask in her sleep: a multitasker sleepwalker.

My wife says not everyone is a multitasker.

Me: "You mean some people can only do one thing at a time?"

Wife: "No. I mean men can only do one thing at a time. Women are multitaskers. Men are unitaskers. Men just don't have a multitasker gene."

Me: "I multitask all the time. For example, on weekends I watch football on TV and at the same time I eat pizza, chips and popcorn while I'm reading the newspaper sports pages and Sports Illustrated. I call that serious multitasking. What do you call it?"

She never did give me an answer and I thought about asking her again.

But somehow, I just think this is one that's best left alone.

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