don't use brand names as nouns
"Do you know how much a bottle of coke costs?"
"Not off the top of my head, let me google that for you."
People don't capitalise these words anymore. But they are brand names. It's interesting to me how these things become ingrained in culture.
I do it too. I store my files on a memory stick and wear a onesie to bed. To prove I'm cool, I bought a lava lamp, and I apply chapstick to my cracked lips to make them feel better. When I spell something wrong, I'll correct it with tippex. I'm always excited to see a zeppelin in the sky. If I need to remember something, I'll write it on a post-it note - probably about how I'm judging my neighbour who's just bought an astroturf lawn. I put vaseline on the rusty spots on my bike, because it's important to look after it.
I write using a biro. One of my favourite sports is ping pong. I store leftover food in tupperware containers. If I'm giving a presentation, I'll probably use a powerpoint, and when my post-its fall down, I'll stick them back up with a pritt-stick. The fact that one day I'll have to use a zimmer frame is a pretty terrifying thought - it'll ruin my cowboy roleplay where I put on my stetson and whip out my colt. I draw on flipcharts with a sharpie and clean my keyboard using q-tips. I don't think I'll ever want to use a jet ski.
I once made a stop-motion animation out of plasticine of Boris Johnson tripping and falling face-first onto the tarmac. I'm gorgeous, so don't feel the need to photoshop myself but I'm very jealous of people who can rollerblade. Sometimes I might relax in a jacuzzi while listening back to the meetings I recorded on my dictaphone. When the pritt-stick stops working, I'll sellotape my post-it notes back up. I take out money at a cashpoint, and I hate hearing my name on the tannoy.
I love to spend time popping bubble wrap, but I don't like spending time hoovering the living room. At the park I play with a frisbee. When the sellotape fails, I'll have to resort to sticking my post-its up with super glue. If I defy the police, they might taser me. (I apologise for the rather wooden and arbitrary sounding sentences).
I'm sure some of you won't be familiar with some of these terms because they're pretty British. And I know that there are some terms prevalent in America that I don't say much - dumpster, for example, or popiscle.
Some words end up in the public domain after a while, like flip phone or escalator. I find it fascinating how brands can alter the way we speak in such petty ways. Some changes aren't difficult; it's not much effort to say glue stick instead of pritt stick. Others are significantly more verbose, and it seems obvious why the frisbee caught on over any other generic flying disk.
If you found this interesting, I'd love to hear from you :)
October 17, 2019