“You humans never cease to amaze me.” The Geezer and I sat on the dock while he performed one of the obligatory functions I insist upon, brushing me. “Your language defies logic.”
“Oh? How’s that?” He cleaned the brush sending another puff of my fluffy undercoat onto the canal water. Its surface was blossoming like the hibiscus bushes in the front yard.
“Hmmmm, I was listening to the TV this morning. They were talking about the polls saying this and the polls saying that. Now, I know you have a room full of fishing poles. Okay, okay, I know the difference. But, why not have a different sounding word for every different meaning. In Doganese, Woof is Woof, Arf is Arf, Grrrr is Grrrr. There’s no guessing.”
“That’s a good point, Sandy. As you know, all humans don’t speak the same language. English is the one you’re most familiar with and it’s also one of the worst for having words that sound the same, but have multiple meanings.”
I hate it when he gets into one of his condescending, ‘I’ll explain this to you as nicely as I can, you poor unfortunate,’ modes. It’s his Bill O’Reilly impersonation. But, he means well, so I tacitly become his straight-man. “And, why is that?” I asked.
“English, as we know it, has been influenced by the Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, and the Norman French. Each was in control of the British Isles. Each brought their own terms to describe a thing or a process. Those identifiers were simply absorbed into the language. That’s why we have so many ways to say the same thing. Some sounded identical to words already in use.” He smiled one of his patronizing, ‘I’m glad I could clear that up for you,’ lip curls. Puke, puke, puke.
“That doesn’t make it any more logical, or easier, for creatures and humans that aren’t steeped in your hodge-podge vernacular.” I felt like adding, ‘Take that!’ but the old boy is free with the treats. No sense in creating self-inflicted pain.
“Give me an example, Sandy. I’ll try to explain.” He appeared to be a little contrite.
“Okay, explain to me how a person unfamiliar with the lame logic your language employs wouldn’t be confused by the use of poll – which I understand to mean, a study to determine a group of people’s thoughts on a subject used to help influence others – and pole, which is basically a shaft.”
“Why, Sandy, that’s brilliant!” The Geezer smiled. In this type of situation, that’s not a good thing. Something smelled like a five-day-old dead fish.
“I know I shouldn’t ask, but why is that?” I could see the guillotine being wheeled into place.
“You’ve connected the two meanings perfectly, Sandy. So you’re saying that polls are designed to shaft a bunch of people by making them believe a certain way.”
How do you answer something like that? The whole theory has a huge hole in it. Oh, good grief! He’s got me doing it!