ChurchKey 300
Do you remember the "church key"?

I’ve spent my life with words - - - written and spoken. They are a major part of a lawyer’s daily work.

Recently I heard on a late night radio program that the new Oxford English Dictionary was adding new words for 2013 such as: “Twerk”, “Selfie”, “Tweeps”, “Boyf” and “bit coin”, for example.

I also began thinking about words I grew up with that are now obsolete.

Do you remember the “church key” - - - a handy device to open the then revolutionary beer can before the innovation of snap tops.

Or what about the “outhouse” - - - the permanent bathroom before the age of City sewer systems, sanitary districts, and modern septic systems?

“Portable typewriters” are a relic of the past giving away to laptops, digital pads, and other technological advancements.

I’m not ready to add my “IBM Selectric typewriter” to the obsolescence list. They remain my creative writing tool of choice at the office, home writing area, or my desk at the lake. With two or three in storage for spares, I hope these wonders of the `70s allow me the opportunity to get many thousands of thoughts from my brain to paper.

I’ve graduated to dictating and working on the computer for professional writing, but there is something magical about doing creative writing on a Selectric.

TestPattern 350
1950's TV Test Pattern

“TV test pattern” appears obsolete. In the late `50s, we would stare at the head of an Indian chief with lots of lines as we counted the minutes until TV programming would begin.

“Slide rules” may still be around with a few exceptions, but I haven’t seen mine or heard of one since escaping a high school advanced math class.

The “milkman” is virtually obsolete. We had an insulated box on our front step and sometime between 4:00 and 6:00 am fresh milk was delivered daily with the bill in the box at the end of the month. My grandfather was an early partner in what became Lakeside Dairy. He had a horse drawn milk wagon pulled by a blind horse.   I’m not sure whether the price of gas contributed to obsolescence or the current price of oats makes a horse drawn wagon too expensive.

There are many other obsolete or near obsolete words describing things in our past. “Stoking the coal furnace” at night, 78, 33 1/3, or 45 rpm records” could qualify along with the 8-track tapes and 2 inch video tapes. I can’t find a “phone booth”, carbon paper”, “floppy disc”, or a “Commodore 64”.

And whatever happened to Pacman, Cabbage Patch Dolls, Atari and Holly Hobbie?

In the end, words are just ways to describe and communicate. Some will become obsolete as times change. We will have new words annually added to the new Oxford English Dictionary.

In the meantime, I wish I could find my “church key” to open my can with a broken “flip top”.