Now this definitely isn’t a rant about RAS which, to save you frantically scrabbling for your search engine, stands for Redundant Acronym Syndrome (yes, really!). Although I must admit RAS is one of my pet-hates and one of which I’m regularly reminded by a chap at work whose job is in Portable Appliance Testing who frequently tells me he’s got lots of ‘PAT testing’ to do. He probably also says PIN number, another cringing example of RAS, which also winds me up.
Nor is this a rant about wording on signs. Although, when I was released for my permitted exercise period the other day, I did see a van advertising home delivery of ‘tomato’s and potato’s!’ (the apostrophe was theirs too). This reminded me of a local hairdresser, near where I used to work, who insisted on displaying a gaudy sign advertising 10% off OAPs. I wondered how they were priced, and whether further discounts could be available for bulk purchases, when my musings were terminated by the arrival of the Wakefield Pack, Mrs Stevens and her five Dachshunds, announcing their approach with discordant yapping (the dogs, that is). This prompted me to risk life and limb by executing a rapid, and exaggerated, social distancing manoeuvre to the far side of the road.
Quite some time later I finally returned home exhausted. I’d effectively doubled my mileage, in a zig- zag evasive route, reminiscent of staggering home from a good night out in my youth or, more recently, after a visit to Grand Lodge.
I now resumed my thoughts about words, like you do, and began to wonder whether objects should be renamed if not being used for their intended purpose. Is a walking stick just a stick when it’s propped, like mine just was, against the wall? If your mobile phone never leaves its docking station is it just a phone, or your laptop just a computer if you use it on a table?
By now you’re probably wondering what all this is about. Well, at the last-but-one meeting of Old York RAM, we welcomed on-deck two boarding parties. One I won’t mention as they arrived terribly late with profuse fisherman’s-tale apologies their electronic charts had sent them paddling up and down the murky backwaters of Heckmondwike. I won’t name them to save embarrassment. Suffice it to say the Lodge began with C and ended with arlWhitehead.
Our other visitors hadn’t suffered any such fate, had timed their arrival to perfection, and made an elaborate, swashbuckling entrance bearing a Travelling Porphyry Stone. Now, whilst the TPS was accompanied by reams of detailed instructions on its usage, there was nothing in these rules and regulations to cover the present emergency. This artefact firmly resides beneath the Commander’s pedestal, as it has since its arrival, and is not destined to move, let alone travel, for the foreseeable future. My question is, due to its stationary nature, should I describe it in the Minutes as the Travelling Porphyry Stone or just a stone? Answers, electronically of course, to the Provincial Secretariat who, I reckon, are at a bit of a loose end at the moment with the Annual Meeting being cancelled and all communications coming via the weekly Suspension Bulletin.
Keep smiling and keep safe.