CROSSROADS TO SOMEWHERE: Knowledge Is Power But Words Are the Almighty

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WIMPY1By W.T. WIMPY HIROTO

Listen up. I wanna try something different. Always in search of new ways to inform, influence and interest, CR2S will take a bold and innovative approach this week: I will talk with myself. Yup, modesty be damned. There is a first time for everything. For a veteran word-slinger like myself, you can bet I’ve slung a lot.

Now comes the hard part: what to talk to me about? Pour a cup of java while I contemplate, a dash of cream and sugar, decaf. If there’s a brew in the fridge, Kirin or Miller Lite will do. It’s a bit early, but anything with Grey Goose.

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There’s something fascinating about words in print. Always. From the time of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, Daniel Inouye orators orated but, without benefit of the written word they would simply be Benji, Tommy and Danzo. [Why writers aren’t good speakers is a puzzler. Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer would be twentieth-century exceptions, but they were egomaniacs so maybe don’t count.]

Crossroads to Somewhere has been appearing in print more years than I care to count, often in anonymity, so it’s been a pleasure gaining a level of recognition since being asked to join The Rafu Shimpo. [It’s also been humbling, especially when sometimes mistaken for fellow columnist George “Horse” Yoshinaga.]

With recognition comes responsibility. When editing The Daily Trojan in college, I once banner-headlined the naming of the Rose Parade grand marshal. Only problem being “marshal” was spelled with an extra “l.” You’re allowed to make errors in baseball, fumble in football and make turnovers in basketball. But, nay, there is no excuse for mistakes in newsprint. Before “Spring forward, fall back” became the catch phrase, I mistakenly informed Crossroads readers to dial their clocks back an hour when it should have been forth. Sam Ishihara, a business entrepreneur, rabid UCLA booster and CR reader, wagered everyone who dared challenge me wrong. He lost money and I lost face.

I believe the wild popularity of today’s social media is an extension of old-fashioned word power that dates back to Guttenberg. Whether Face Book, Twitter, texting and all the other specialized apps, it’s the immediacy and intimacy that appeals; the satisfaction of instantly sharing thoughts and feelings. No matter how brief or mangled, it’s in written form with an impact not found in speech. [Especially if you’re hard of hearing.] Even though restricted to 140 characters, initials and acronyms still translate into words. It might not be Chaucer, but who cares? Obviously, no one.

Yet and still, the clock keeps ticking ominously. CR2S just can’t seem to meld with the masses; be a part of the parade/crowd/world/everyone else. Even though no one has an excuse to ever get lost again, I still do because of no GPS. I don’t Google an unknown address before departure. I still pay a majority of bills by check and stand in line to make a bank deposit. I hate online purchases because of the email advertisements that are sure to follow.

My Roget’s Thesaurus is worn out and World Book Encyclopedia dictionary is outdated but it has words that I grew up with (selfie?), thank you very much. Should I confess to more? Like buying stamps in a hundred roll, not having Netflix, taking Viagra? [Naw, the last item is a four-hour joke and tossed in just to see if you’re paying attention.]

So yeah, I compose emails but also pen personal notes. That’s because I have friends who are still not electronically connected and I  get a kick out of longhand writing and printing; it just seems more, you know, personal. I’ll betcha there no longer are water coolers to gather around at work; everyone carries their own bottle. I’m also willing to bet the neighborhood bar is no longer in vogue, maybe not even in business. Do people still talk to neighbors over a fence or gate? Anywhere? [I shouldn’t ask. I don’t talk to anyone until after breakfast.]

It hasn’t reached the stage where I’m gonna start running around with arms flaying shouting, “Stop the world, I wanna get off.” At least, not yet. It’s still a pretty nice place to be. Could use a little rain and less violence. And space for meandering thoughts.

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Silver Lake, Echo Park and Los Feliz make up the New Eastside? Gimme a break. Last time I looked, First and Main was 00/00 and this side of the old Eastside Brewery /LA River is the Flats and then East Los Angeles, the real old and only one. Come on, folks, no matter where you might’ve come from, Silver Lake is east, okay, east of Beverly Hills and Santa Monica. It’s already bad enuf’ Cantor’s and Brooklyn Avenue went away. Let Boyle Heights stay ELA!

W.T. Wimpy Hiroto can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

 

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