Cute, Cuter, cutest

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Cute, cuter, cutest
by Alison Barnet Contributor
Wednesday Aug 25, 2010

I’m feeling much better about SoWa since I heard about DUMBO. Dumbo, if you’re out of touch, is the waterfront district of factories and warehouses Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass in Brooklyn, and it’s terribly trendy. It makes the name SoWa look dumb. But imagine telling people you live in Dumbo! How could you hold your head up? And how would you refer to yourself? As a Dumber? A Dumbian? A Dummy?

In comparison, our SoWa, SoBo and EBo are too intellectual. Even when Highland Park becomes HiPa, Fort Channel FoCha and Harvard Square HaSqa, we’ll need something even dumber. Maybe IDIOT-Ideal District Inbred on Tremont or IMBECILE-Intact Mansions Behind Edgy Claremont in Lagging Economy.

I’ve never been crazy about made-up words or abbreviations-I had, for instance, a mother, not a mom-but this is nuts! Is there anyone out there who thinks contrived, cutesy-poo names might be related somehow to the dumbing down of our culture?

It may have started with personal computers, I don’t know. For instance, google is a misspelled math term, according to a friend of mine, that has to do with very large numbers, but it still sounds like baby talk to me. Goo goo google. Yahoo sounds so stupid I’m embarrassed to give out my email address, and I can barely bring myself to say blog. There’s something about the consonant combination of b and l followed by o or u that’s unpleasant. Bloat, blob, blot, blubber.

Please hold me back when it comes to twitter. Every time I hear National Public Radio’s Diane Rehm, a grown woman, say, "Or send us a tweet" at the end of her show, not only do I cringe, I worry that her mind is slipping. When I see iPod Apps advertised, I think it’s a scrambled message, and WikiLeaks sounds like cystitis in a Chihuahua-a far cry from Deep Throat.

The bright spot-I don’t say blogspot-is that in the future the economy will rejuvenate itself through many new and expanded health specialties. Boston Medical Center can expect to outgrow its new building and the South End Community Health Center to add a couple of floors.

Speech pathologists will find lucrative new challenges dealing with today’s speech defects, such as DS or Dot Stutter-dot org, dot edu-to say nothing of annoying repetitive phrases: awesome, cool, and like-ten times in one sentence!

The waiting rooms of social workers specializing in neglect will burst at the seams attempting to treat-not tweet-all those poor little children pushed around in strollers and sweet little dogs walked on leashes who have been continually subjected to one-sided cell phone conversations (if you can call hearing one side a conversation). Complained one former baby, "I thought at first that my mother was talking to me, but I soon realized she was talking to someone who wasn’t even there. I felt desolate, abandoned, and have grown up emotionally warped as a result." Dogs feel equally rejected by their cell phone using owners, experts say, but express it in different ways. Don’t ask.

A friend recently commented that people don’t know how to walk down city sidewalks anymore, and it’s true. How many times have I had to stop texters from drifting into me? Bent over their plastic toys (which some call crackberries because of their addictive properties) and oblivious to all, they will, at least, prove a future boon to orthopedists and physical therapists, who, not long ago, treated only much older folks for curvature of the spine and dowager’s hump. Bent elbow (previously associated with drinkers) is yet another area of distress.

One recent morning on BUR I heard that there’s an increase in people whose thumbs have been mutilated, and I immediately thought of texters. It was, however, a report on criminals who want to obliterate their fingerprints. At any rate, storefront thumb clinics are already hanging out their shingles, and trained thumb technicians are leading texters through a series of digital exercises-literally.

There’s yet another brand new field. Awareness Therapists can help the unaware become aware of other people and of their environment, which is a long and arduous process for many. Impulse control is also part of the program: clients learn, for example, to wait five minutes until they get home before calling people to tell them they’ll be home in five minutes.

In the legal arena, privacy experts will make out like bandits representing people who had loudly and clearly given out their phone numbers, addresses, and bank account details on public buses or on busy sidewalks and consequently become victims of harassment and identity theft. Most of these people are thoroughly mystified as to how it happened. "I was only ordering my lunch," said one.

Of course, none of this is unique to the South End. A Thumb Clinic will thrive in Dumbo and in every gentrified neighborhood in the country. Dumb, dumber and dumbest the whole thing may be-but profitable.

Oh, I forgot the latest Boston BID, the private business group that goes around helping restaurants and stores choose even stupider new names. I hope they know they’ve really got their work cut out for them.

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