We were fascinated to read in the "Arts, Briefly" column of the Jan. 6 New York Times:
"After a year dominated by upstarts like ‘selfie' and ‘twerk,' the American Dialect Society's Word of the Year honor for 2013 has gone to a seemingly old-hat vocabulary term: ‘because.' Increasingly used to introduce a noun or adjective rather than a full clause -- as in ‘because tired' or ‘because awesome' -- ‘because' won in a landslide at the society's annual meeting in Minneapolis, garnering 127 of 175 votes, well ahead of the runner-up ‘slash' (as in ‘come and visit slash stay'). Ben Zimmer, the chairman of the dialect society's new words committee, explained that casual online usage had transformed ‘because.'"
"No longer does ‘because' have to be followed by of or a full clause," he said in a statement. "You might not go to a party ‘because tired.'" As one supporter put it, ‘Because' should be word of the year ‘because useful!'"
Seemingly old-hat my foot! (Or is that old one more than seemingly old-hat?)
Any of us would wish we'd had a Weimar Republic mark for every time we blurted it out. I imagine this is especially so for anyone with a talk-back kid in the house (exempting the dog and cat lovers among us because -- bark or meow -- darlingly dumb). How any mom or dad gets through a day without wishing that Mensa Madison or Mason would simply accept "Because ..." and hightail it back to their iThises or iThats for some e-thissing or e-thatting is quite beyond me.
Anyway I'm intrigued by this chosen word of the year for two reasons.
First because between.
To be sure I've lived through "betweens" before.
When at two and twenty I completed military service and hadn't yet landed my first adult civilian job, I was "between."
When after nine years at that first one I decided to make a change, I was "between" -- and for some time at that, having opted to mix a change of coasts into the equation. When after a dozen years at a new job on that new-to-me coast I opted not to change coasts again I found myself "between" (until the company asked me back a couple months later to take a job on the coast of my choice). When after another dozen years I accepted a very attractive "retirement" package -- yet at 55 was far too young and poor for retirement -- I was "between." When after nine years at my first Brattleboro job I needed to make another change I was "between."
And now, after eight once-in-a-lifetime years at the Chamber I find myself again "between." This "between" has meant -- and means at this writing -- turning to a blank page marked Today in a diary called Brattleboro. That's the second reason "because" intrigues.
For 53 working years I was "on assignment." Someone in the proverbial front office holding $tring$ dispatched me to create, to compose, and ultimately to deliver -- and I did. I woke up each day running a mental list of ingredients so I could whip up the cake du jour ... whatever the flavor.
But now I'm the string-holder. There's no built-in dispatcher, no daily expectation. Who's the boss? Looks like it's me.
My front office now is on the third floor of what in the old days was the Vermont National Bank security department (directly above Vermont Artisan Designs). It overlooks the Harmony Lot.
In the little more than a month that my new little company has inhabited this wonderful, bright, "professional" space I've come to learn that there ain't a better spot from which to tap into the downtown pulse than right here in this aerie above Harmony. Whodathunk that this central car park/cum mall/cum strand -- the very chunk of real estate I've hoped for years could be sodded and walkway-ed over to become a Currier and Ives/Grandma Moses tableau -- would in all its scruffiness fascinate me so?
Here Harmony means the steady rat-a-tat-tatting of the riveters working to complete the second floor extension on the Brooks House in preparation for the two state colleges' tenancy. Here Harmony means the criss-crossing of hundreds of autos and pedestrians a day -- hey, like our own Grand Central Main Concourse! -- folks from here or away on missions, on purpose, lucking out on a good parking spot or not, in hard hats or knit caps or not, with packages or papooses or not. In Harmony is a good place to be for making the transition from between to birth.
So let me introduce here and now the newest member of the Greater Brattleboro promotion team, Goldberg Creative Marketing. As much a company with a mission as any, GCM's my post-Chamber, entrepreneurial way of continuing to serve -- strategically and, of course, creatively -- the community that has so warmly embraced Donald and me
Why? Because Brattleboro. Because The One and Only Brattleboro.
Jerry Goldberg writes from downtown Brattleboro. He has recently launched his new enterprise, Goldberg Creative Marketing, after eight-plus years as Executive Director of the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce.