Times Are A Changing
by John Norberg, humor columnist s

The people who publish dictionaries tell us our language is evolving. The actual words we use change. If they didn't, we would still be speaking Old English and Shakespeare wouldn't need footnotes. Football coaches might give pep talks in sonnets.

The meanings of words also change.

For example, the word "late"in 2004 does not mean the same thing as it did 30 years ago. At least it doesn't for me.

In 1974 "late,"to me, meant 1 o'clock in the morning.

In 2004 my definition of "late,"has evolved into 9:30 in the evening -- and the meaning of 1 a.m. has actually evolved into "early,"as in: "It's too early to get up, so I can go back to sleep."

If you're wondering at what point your age has evolved to where it's starting to show, here's a good way to tell: It's when you start going tobed at the same time you used to go out to see a movie.

As we age, it seems that the conversations we have -- as well as our words -- evolve into something different.

For the most part, conversations among men are consistent through the years. When men get together they talk about sports. The only things that change and evolve in male conversations are the teams, the scores and the seasons.

But now that I'm getting older, I notice that even male conversations are finally starting to change.

When I get together with friends today we don't just talk about sports.

We have evolved into pharmaceuticals.

Lately when we get together we seem to be talking more and more about our prescriptions and the best places to go to get them filled. Our conversations have evolved from football, basketball and baseball to cholesterol, blood pressure and diets.

I don't know what this means. But I know what it doesn't mean: It doesn't mean we're getting younger.

There was a time when we got together and talked about the size of our steak dinners. Today we talk about the size of our Lipitor tablets.

We used to make plans to meet at great places to eat. Now going out to a restaurant has less to do with what we want to eat and more to do with what we can't.

First Friend: "I'm hungry, let's go out for pizza."

Second Friend: "I can't eat pizza. My cholesterol is over 250. My blood pressure is way up.

Third friend: "The doctor has me on a low fat diet. I can't eat cheese."

Fourth friend: I'm on low carb. I can't eat dough."

Fifth friend: "I can't eat pepperoni or sausage. The heartburn kills me."

First: "Okay, then, let's go out and get some steaks."

Second: "Are you kidding? Red meat! Are you trying to kill us all?"

Fourth: "Maybe we should just get some ice cream."

Third: "I'm on a no-sweets diet."

First: "How about if we all just go someplace for a nice bowl of warm oatmeal?"

"Oats"is another word that has changed over years.

I remember when we sowed wild oats. Now we just eat them.

Of course, the best way to determine if you're getting older might be through the word "change"itself.

When you're young, you are excited about all the great changes that are about to take place.

But when you get older, you are driven crazy by young people trying to change everything in sight.

Getting older means wanting things to stay the same '?? for a change.

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