Raising the syn"tax"

Even though we have seen the government intrude into many aspects of our lives by taxing us on our “sins” such as alcohol, cigarettes and now of course marijuana use that's not the kind of “syn tax” this column is about.

Over the past 100 years, we have seen the English language evolve into a twisted morass of mixed up phrases and slang that changes so fast, it’s hard to even keep up. 

New words come along as fast as new products come to market. Words like hashtag, pixel, iPad and Instagram all have been introduced to us in a rush of products and daily applications.

But nothing is more frightening to me than the twisting of words in some quasi-legal manner meant to mislead or misinform others in order to get what the person wants.

One prime example is when politicians are caught in a bald face lie and say they simply, “mis-spoke.” They may have done so but if Trixie's momma catches you mis-speaking you might not ever speak again. At least it might be a while before you were able to sit down and THAT is what kept America on track to truthfulness in the past.

Today, there seems little consequence to bad actions or misrepresentation so it has found its way into every avenue of our lives.

I recall my first experience with a Time Share presentation and how appealing they made it sound. What caring parent wouldn’t want to leave great future vacations to their children – and at today’s prices?  No matter how you feel about owning these, the facts presented were not truthful and only a firm resolve kept me from being an owner of something I would not use. 

Recently, I have been perusing the pages of Craigslist looking for a pottery wheel. Ads for items and products are listed there with all the skill of a medicine show barker selling snake oil.

The best examples list a boat or car and detail how good a shape they are in only to end with, “does not float” or “does not run.” Ads for free firewood promise everything but putting it in your stove only to then tell you the tree is standing in between five high voltage power lines and you must remove it.  

The personals are even funnier as they are a mix of desperate individuals who have exhausted the normal paid for dating sites and have relegated themselves to settling for “whatever,” another great word we have converted to daily use with a different meaning.

Listings there range from high end call girls and playboys to normal people just looking for love or at least someone to do the dishes. One of my favorites was “Big Beautiful Woman seeks free lunch this week. Call ASAP.” At least she was honest about what she wanted to get out of the responder up front. 

Like all places on the Internet, you have to really be careful with answering these ads, Meeting someone to look at an item can get you robbed at gunpoint or even worse -- you could end up stalked by some whack job right out of the movie “Friday the Thirteenth”

Using eBay is almost as scary as there are scammers everywhere on there. I recently looked for a bass boat and one guy offered to ship one from Greece. All I had to do was send a cashier’s check to someone who was suddenly called overseas. 

I emailed the guy and after much questioning he finally told me he makes about $500,000 a year scamming people. 

But all in all, the Internet is a great method of finding more “stuff” which we all need and want. Getting more stuff will then set you up for your own listings or a huge garage sale where you sell all your hard won items for pennies on the dollar all the while bragging how much you made on the sale. 

I was able to do some garage sale shopping last year with the people in the RV park and it was fun to drive from South Fork to Alamosa stopping along the way at the various sales. With gasoline and lunch it only cost me about $85 to save $2.99 on a nice wrench I found. And of course, I didn't need it but it was such a good buy I couldn't pass it up.

So if you are in the market for someone's cast-offs, be that a product or a partner, get online and enjoy the journey. It's cheap entertainment and a window to the world. You never know when you will find a deal on something you don't need or want but cannot live without. And you might even find out what the meaning of the word “is” is?