Godbey: Words can be confusing

Published 1:05 pm Tuesday, May 9, 2023

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By Jack Godbey


I was standing in line at the store yesterday, and when the woman in front of me made it up to the check out, she looked at the cashier and asked, “Do you sell sex?” Suddenly, those gossip magazine headlines didn’t hold my attention anymore, and I tuned into this conversation in front of me. The clerk looked as shocked as I was. When asked to repeat her request, again the women asked, “Do you sell sex?”

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I paid close attention as I made a mental inquiry of my bank balance just in case the answer was yes. It turned out the woman, a northerner with an accent, was asking if they sold sacks.

As I made my way home, a friend texted me and said he got the new iPhone, and then asked if I was jelly? I said that I was not jelly. I might resemble a pork rind, but I’ve never been confused for jelly. As it turns out, jelly is some sort of weird slang for jealous. Who knew?

When I got home, I took out a roast from the freezer for supper, and my wife asked if it was freezer burned. I said, “How can it be frozen and burned at the same time?” If there’s a way too do both, I’d be the one to do it. That’s when my wife decided that maybe she better cook supper.

It was then that I thought about how easy it is to become confused during conversation. It’s really no surprise when we look at some of the words we use that make no sense. For example, what exactly is butterscotch? It’s confusing. It’s not butter or Scotch. I don’t know what it is, but I know it’s delicious. I guess that’s all I need to know.

I don’t understand the term, bittersweet. Doesn’t it have to be one way or the other? Reminds me of the time I started cramming my mouth full of what I thought was Hershey’s chocolate, but was actually baking chocolate. I can honestly say there was nothing sweet about that. It was all bitter.

I have heard the term, “pretty ugly” my entire life. Which is it? Is it pretty, or is it ugly? That’s right up there with the phrase, “Awful nice.” I heard someone say, “Less is more.” From what I remember from my elementary school math class, I’m pretty sure that less is in fact not more. Although with the new math they’re teaching, who knows anymore?

It’s easy to become confused at the grocery store, as well. I saw that jumbo shrimp was on sale and thought, how can it be jumbo and a shrimp at the same time? Later, I saw a pack of boneless ribs. How can a rib be boneless? I sense some trickery going on here. Speaking of nonsense at the grocery store, enough with the Buffalo wings. A Buffalo doesn’t have wings and a chicken doesn’t have nuggets. A rooster maybe, but a chicken definitely does not. Let’s not forget about cheese steak. As much as I wish I could have a cheese flavored steak, it’s just not reality.

I don’t understand fat-free ice cream. I’m here to tell you that if it’s fat-free then it’s not ice cream. I mean, cream is in the name, after all. That makes as much sense as turkey ham. Sorry, it can’t be turkey and ham at the same time. I would write more but I must go figure out what a grape nut is.