It’s official. The National Synonym Society today approved “trump” as a new word for “dumb.”
“This is a well-earned honor,” said Sebastian T. Wordsworth, NSS president. “Never in the long history of the NSS has an alternate meaning for an existing word been so well documented by multiple media.”
Wordsworth added that the new meaning is, also for the first time, attributable to the acts of a single individual.
“That individual, is of course, Donald J. Trump, whose elevation to President of the United States of America and whose unfiltered access to Twitter have showcased his trumpness to the world daily,” Wordsworth elaborated.
Trump had a long, honorable, pre-Donald J. history. As a noun, it traces its origins back to games in which certain playing cards were designated as trump and ranked above other cards in the deck.
Mutating into a verb, trump became the act of beating cards of other suits. This was eventually more broadly defined as making a winning move in a competitive situation.
Trump’s positive past, however, has come to screeching halt with its coronation as an adjective.
“It is now perfectly acceptable to substitute trump for dumb in any sentence not referring to speechlessness,” Wordsworth said. “By extension, trump may also now replace any previously existing synonym for dumb — including but not limited to, stupid, dense, brainless, slow, empty-headed, vacuous, moronic and half-baked.”
Wordsworth also noted that trump has earned the right to replace close relatives of dumb, such as ignorant, illiterate and bonkers.
Wordsworth provided sample sentences incorporating the new meaning of trump.
“Do you work at being trump, or were you born that way?”
How can anyone in their right mind, be that trump?”
“Well, that was a trump move.”
“That has got to be the trumpest damn thing I have ever heard anyone say.”
“Way to go, trump-ass!”
Hey. Maybe they can change the name of one of my favorite movies to Trump and Trumper.
Unfortunately, Alexa was in “earshot” of both the living room television set and my wife’s more recently acquired Echo Dot. The Dot is a sawed-off version of the original Echo. As far I can tell, stature is only difference between the two Amazon entities.
The default “wake word” for both units is “Alexa,” which summons the cloud-based artificial intelligence answering to that name to do your bidding. Artificial is an appropriate adjective, but I question the noun it describes.
Early in our relationship, Alexa was jumping in whenever she heard her name on TV. Usually, she claimed that she didn’t understand the question. At other times, she launched a lengthy Wikipedia reading, leaving us to theorize about the relationship between what she had heard and her response.
This was often unintentionally amusing, but it did not happen so frequently that it crossed the border into annoying. That brings me back to the Dot.
The Dot was installed in my wife’s art studio, a location which is about as far from the kitchen location of the original Echo as you can get and stay within the house walls. It soon became apparent that any commands issued to Alexa Dot in the studio were also heard and obeyed by Alexa Echo in the kitchen.
I was instantly irritated and initially puzzled when Alexa Echo would inexplicably burst into song as I was trying to follow hushed dialog on TV. It didn’t take long to determine the problem. My wife and I have very different tastes in music.
So, Alexa Echo is now just plain Echo. The other alternate waking names are “Amazon” and “Computer.” My personal choice, “Hey, Dumb Ass,” is not available, yet.
Using “Amazon” would have been a costly mistake, as I frequently use that word in normal conversation, and rarely in a good way. Echo is ever-ready to order something for me, and I really don’t need a string of appearances by pizza deliverers or ride-sharing services
I was tempted by “Computer,” with its Star Trek connotations, but I wisely concluded that name would be an insult to Computerkind throughout the United Federation of Planets.
We learned that fundamental rule very early in our stay here. The natives take their god seriously.
“Do Not Touch” is a simpler way to put it.
Our lesson came the hard way. Six of our best people were killed on the first expedition to the Giant – felled by the otherwise most congenial people we have ever encountered on our planetary explorations.
We don’t know whether the Giant is animal, vegetable or mineral. It was visible from orbit upon our arrival, which was the primary reason we set down here. The giant rules the horizon, driving us crazy with its nearby unknowability.
The giant appears to be worshiped by the planet’s primitive humanoids. We’ve been close enough to see the structures erected at its feet. Temples?
We’ve observed that some of those who march, single-file to the temples every four planetary rotations don’t always come back. Sacrifices?
Theories about the nature of the Giant abound, as one might expect in a scientific community denied access to the focal point of its curiosity and further hampered by an incredibly hostile environment.
A few of us speculate that the Giant is a natural landscape feature, mindlessly forged by the same forces that shaped the planet as whole.
The least discerning eye cannot escape the detail of the Giant’s sagging face and posture. Random elements of nature could not create that figure.
More likely. The Giant is a mountain, painstakingly transformed, Mount Rushmore-style, as a tribute to some fallen hero from the planetary past.
Yet, the inhabitants to not appear to have the technological means to create such a monument.
That leads to my pet theory: The giant was a living being. He was a member of a king-sized race which preceded the current dominant species.
Slumped in despair at the demise of the rest of his kind, he was the final victim of an ice age that suddenly engulfed his world.
I am alone in this flight of fantasy. Most scientists, meaning those who are not me, require empirical data to support a hypothesis and form a theory. I had gone straight to theory.
I argued that, completely lacking scientific evidence for any theory explaining the giant’s existence, my conclusion was as valid as any other. As highly-educated and rational people, my fellow expedition members refrained from burning me at the stake, but I could read the look of dismissal in their eyes whenever we met.
Then came the awakening.
I had taken advantage of a toasty, minus 40-degree day to make a solo trek to an ice ridge about a quarter-mile from camp when the ground abruptly heaved and tossed me on my face. Somehow, I did not feel surprised when I looked back to see that the giant had risen and was facing the camp.
He did not look pleased.
I watched in horrified fascination as the giant strode purposefully toward the camp. The ground shook with each step.
When he reached the camp, he paused to look down on those who had invaded his domain. The entire expedition had grouped at the edge of the camp, staring up at the giant with, I assumed, an intense, scientific thirst for knowledge.
I cupped my hands and shouted in their direction.
“Ha! I told you so!”
Big mistake. As my words of vindication still echoed across the barren landscape, the giant squashed all of my colleagues with one well-placed foot.
Now, he’s coming in my direction. I wonder if I can somehow convey “I believe in you, Mister Giant,” when he gets here.
(Dexter, New Mexico, Aug. 13, 2343)– Archeologists sifting through a late 20th century landfill site here near Roswell have discovered possible evidence of a past extraterrestrial presence on earth.
“We don’t know, at this point, exactly what it might be,” said a clearly excited Adolf Bingham, the archeologist in charge of the Dexter dig. “We’ve never seen anything like it before on earth. Nothing in our records even hints of such a strange mechanism.”
Well preserved by the arid climate of New Mexico, the gumdrop-shaped device appears to be made of an otherworldly, greenish-blue, plastic-type material, lending further credence to theories of its alien origins. Plastic manufacturing has been banned from this planet for more than three centuries.
An insignia of some sort is emblazoned on what finders believe to be the front of the object. The marking resembles a partially-eaten apple, which has left analysts espousing a variety of theories.
“Some of us think it might have been a juicer used to process an alien fruit resembling our apples,” Bingham ventured. “Others believe it may have been a vacuum cleaner.”
“We haven’t dared to attempt disassembling the device,” Bingham added, “but we have noted several small apertures its exterior, indicating that limited attachments were possible. We may know more once we get inside.”
An obvious handle atop the artifact supports the vacuum cleaner theory. However, the device weighs more than 17 kilos, limiting its portability, unless it had originally been equipped with wheels.
“Another theory is that the makers of this device were significantly bigger than humans,” Bingham said. “It’s entirely possible that this object served as nothing more than a decorative, albeit gaudy, paperweight on some Amazonian alien file clerk’s field office desk more than 200 years ago.”
The paperweight theory is currently the leading contender, according to a reliable source involved in the archeological analysis.
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During the course of troubleshooting our equipment, he set every receiver in my house to the History Channel. That’s how I caught the tail end of an American Pickers episode and learned of the Forevertron.
It was a steampunk fan’s dream – on steroids. The Forevertron is 50 feet tall, 120 feet wide. And weighs 600,000 pounds. It was created by lifetime scrap metal collector and artist, Tom “Dr. Evermor” Every.
Sure. That’s what they want you to think.
More likely, the real explanation for its presence is something more like this …
The Wanderlust came down hard — not as hard as it might have, considering that it was a starhopper.
A big boat like that has no business chugging through a planetary atmosphere at 5,000 feet, but the captain was looking for signs of intelligent life on, of all places, Earth.
When the Firefly Drive, never intended to be used for anything but parking, suddenly quit under the strain of that gravitational proximity, the ship had nowhere to go but down.
The pilot was good. He headed for a dense pine forest and brought the ship’s nose up as much as he could. Slicing through nearly a mile of standing timber brought the ship to a gradual, smoking halt, turning what would have been complete destruction into mere cataclysmic damage. The trees slowed the ship, but they took their toll.
The Wanderlust had found its final resting place, a scenic Earth locale known as North Freedom, Wisconsin. Fortunately, the hopper had been cloaked when it came down. The incident was neither seen nor apparently heard, raising the question: If an interstellar spacecraft crashes in the woods when no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?
Nobody came to investigate.
The crew took stock. Miraculously, none had perished in the crash. The front third of the Wanderlust had been turned into scrap metal. Navigation, life support and communications were gone. The first two no longer mattered; the third did. The aliens had no ride home and no means of calling for one.
On the plus side, the planetary atmosphere that had flooded the ship when its nose was destroyed was breathable, and it looked as though the local flora could provide edible grains for the distinctly birdlike aliens when homegrown supplies were depleted.
Much of the ship’s equipment remained functional. The transporter showed promising signs of life, but its range was limited to the typical distance from orbit to planetary surface.
The crewmembers knew the drill. They got to work.
Yes, the Wanderlust would fly no more, but the crew could re-purpose its surviving equipment for alternative transportation. What they couldn’t salvage, they could find in stealthy visits to Terran landfill sites.
Within a surprisingly short time, they had constructed a device that, with a little help from lightning, took them to their nearest outpost. The device remained behind, mysterious, and nameless, until Dr. Evermor claimed it as his own.
Meanwhile, back in reality (or as close as I get) …
Holy Sith! The Forevertron incorporates such exotic components as a pair of Thomas Edison dynamos, a giant telescope, and the Apollo 11 space capsule decontamination chamber.
Dr. Evermor’s Sculpture Park is only a little more than 100 miles west of me? A must-go day trip went on my calendar. Even Mary, my decidedly anti-science fiction wife, agreed to join me, once she had seen a few Forevertron photos.
Matthew, my 8-year-old grandson, who thinks a trip to the supermarket is a never-ending journey, was the toughest sell. He spotted what he thought were a TARDIS and a Dalek in the photos, so he was in.
Two weeks later, under cloudy skies and a promise of sun to the west, we sallied forth. We wandered about the countryside near our goal for a bit — but we finally found the park, not visible from the highway, hiding behind a surplus store and what appeared to be a junk yard.
We were not disappointed.
Well, Matthew was a little bummed when we couldn’t find a Dalek, and the TARDIS he had seen in the photos turned out to be an old English phone booth — no phone but still bearing instructions for dialing numbers in Ireland.