Anachronisms

Much has been said and written about stuff that’s gone out of style. So let me add my two cents. (And no, you don’t get to ask for change.)

The digital world made both obsolete and obscure such expressions as “clockwise” and “carbon copy.” The latter might be misinterpreted as something having to do with energy or pollution and either their expansion or contraction.“Clockwise” is sensible only in an analog world.

Ditto the expression “take dictation,” terms that are foreign in a world without secretaries.

Perhaps the very slowest way to travel east and west across the state of Massachusetts is Route 2. Maybe residential streets would take more time. But I doubt it.

I speak from experience, having made the Route 2 trip numerous times.

A ribbon of mostly two-lane roadway located in the northern part of the state, Route 2 connects such pleasant municipalities as Williamstown, Gardner, and the always-fun-to-pronounce, Athol.

Who says humor is restricted to fifth graders?

The Triple-A map designates portions of Route 2 with dots alongside the road’s line. Dotted roads are AAA’s code for scenic roads.

“Scenic” is code for “slow.”

Get behind an RV on Route 2 and it will be for-ever. Get behind a tractor-trailer, and crossing the state will be forever-and-a-day.

I exaggerate, of course.

But now, finally, the point of today’s essay. Recall this isn’t intended as a travelogue; instead, it is an addition to the vocabulary-long-out-of-fashion and date.

An anachronism is what the movie critic meant when describing the anti-heroes of Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch: men beyond their prime and out of their time.

Cruising Route 2, just east of North Adams, yellow caution signs warn drivers about a “Hairpin” turn.

Hairpin! Who today knows what a hairpin is?

Have you seen one recently?

And when was the last time you used one?

Can one still purchase such things? Where?

Last, and you can expect to see this soon on an SAT or a GRE test: what’s the difference between a hairpin and a bobby pin?

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