a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Monday, July 20, 2009

Amanda’s Musings: A conversational generation gap

CI-Live-Oak, originally uploaded by daverice.

By Amanda Gillooly,

Scooter came back from the press conference with shocking news: One of Washington County’s It-boys was going to be a baby-daddy.

My response: "Uh oh."

I thought it might be the biggest scoop I’d heard in a while. Young, powerful, good looking and sporting a band on his left-hand ring finger, the news that this politician had gotten someone other than his dear wife in the family way was pretty juicy.

So I asked the natural follow-up question: “Oh my God. Who is the baby-mamma?”

That’s when Scooter, my 52-year-old friend and fellow newspaper geek, looked at me with quizzically.

“Come on Amanda, who do you think? His wife.”

These kinds of misunderstandings happen when you try to use vernacular you don’t really get.

While Scooter was merely trying to let me know Mr. and Mrs. Washington County were expecting their first child, he made the mistake of referring to the dude as a baby-daddy, which is a blatant misuse of the term.

The Associated Press Stylebook doesn’t address the subject, and neither does Webster's, but Maury and Jerry have. And from my experiences with on-screen and real-life baby-daddies I know this is a suitable definition:

Baby daddy - n. Referring to a man who has impregnating a woman who is not his wife. The man could be married or single.

For Scooter, what followed was a 10-minute Ghetto Gal lecture about the proper use of the term. I used baby daddy in a sentence and cited several examples in popular culture.

But at 28, my smaller range of reference has made me look like quite a fool, too. I know this because Scooter made fun of me for my less-worldly vocabulary. Once he asked me a question about a live oak tree for a travel story he was writing. I gave him fodder for weeks when I arrogantly smirked, “Are there any other kinds, as opposed to dead oaks? God.”

That’s when this Yankee learned about those eerie-looking southern trees.

Such is life, I suppose. And for the record: That’s the beauty of May-December BFFFships. They might make a complete (bleep) of you for a verbal snafu, but they help you get your learn on.


MJ said...

Whoa, whoa, whoa ... Snafu?? Watch your language, Big Girl. This is a family blog.

Remember when I got reemed out by that ex-military man who knew what snafu meant and didn't appreciate seeing it in BOLD TYPE 72 print in the headline? Well, at least we didn't use fubar!

Hope you're doing well, Amanda, and I'm glad you're back on the old bicycle and once again traveling with a Beveridge.

amandablu said...

AMANDA'S MUSINGS: HOW A BG FUBARED A SNAFU is going to be the title of my next blog. Heard about your gig -- press up, buddy. (PS -- Glad you are into it, and not over it.

Scott Beveridge said...

I need to call a translator