With this column, another year comes to a close and a new year is thrust upon us.

As I have been toying with words for more than a quarter of a century, meeting the weekly deadline, I have come across quite a number of words and groupings that have spawned considerable doubt in my mind.

They have probably raised an eyebrow or two of my editors as well. Here are a few of them:

Is it good if a vacuum really sucks?

Why is the third hand on a watch called the second hand?

If a word is misspelled in the dictionary, how would we ever know?

If Webster wrote the first dictionary, where did he find all the words?

Why do we say something is out of whack? What is a whack?

Why do “slow down” and “slow up” mean the same thing?

Why do tugboats push their barges?

Why do we sing “Take me out to the ball game” when we are already there?

Why are they called “stands” when they are made for sitting?

Why is it called “after dark” when it is really “after light”?

Doesn’t “expecting the unexpected” make the unexpected expected?

Why are a “wise man” and a “wise guy” opposites?

Why do “overlook” and “oversee” mean opposite things?

Why is it that “phonics” is not spelled the way it sounds?

If work is so terrific, why do they have to pay you to do it?

If the entire world is a stage, where is the audience sitting?

If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?

If you are cross-eyed and have dyslexia, can you still read all right?

Why is bra singular and panties plural?

Why do you press harder on a remote control when you know the batteries are dead?

Why do we put suits in garment bags and garments in a suitcase?

How come “abbreviation” is such a long word?

Why do we wash bath towels? Aren’t we clean when we use them?

Why do they call it a TV set when you only have one?

Why do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway?

Christmas: What other time of year do you sit in front of a dead tree and eat candy out of your sock?

I don’t know the why, the what or the wherefore – do you?

Take care, ‘cause we care.




Barrie Hopkins