What ARE Pirate Stools And Why Do I Need Them for My Kitchen?

January 24, 2010

The television is often on while I am working. The chatter keeps me from noticing annoying and distracting noises like the leaf blower across the street or the neighbor using a power saw. Even though I’m not paying attention, there are certain words like fart and breast that get my immediate attention. I don’t hear those often on my favorite white noise, QVC’s home shopping. The only thing I ever really watch on QVC is Jeanne Bice, hawking her Quacker Factory apparel. She fascinates me. So do her sparkly, shiny, seasonally-themed clothes, the kind that many people think that I would surely want to wear and I surely don’t.

An advertisement was on when I heard the words “pirate stools” followed by the announcer telling me how necessary they were for my kitchen. I’m pretty sure I was “watching“ the TV Guide Channel since it circles round and round while offering regular doses of paid advertisements for things I don’t need along with people who think they look like celebrities and can’t wait to have the resemblance enhanced (Note: This has always baffled me. Wouldn’t it be better to look like the best you you can instead of like Angelina Jolie or Tom Hanks or Kim Kardashian? Would it really be thrilling to have someone think you were someone else?)

Oh, and the other thing that seems to be on this channel a lot is the perpetual adolescence of Ashton Kutcher. If he is privately anything at all like his public persona, I pity Demi Moore. Punking people is mean, not funny—ha, ha, your house burned down and you’re being arrested and your dog is dead and you owe the government a quarter of a million dollars and you’ve been fired—maybe I’m just too old to get it, but then I never was a prankster. Incidentally, being in school is probably stressfull enough without getting punked; don’t be tempted to prank.

But back to those pirate stools. Who wouldn’t be curious? Are they missing a leg? Is it because all of their legs are made of wood? Are they emblazoned with gold coins and other booty? Is it because you put your booty on them? My imagination runs wild and I look up, hoping to see what this special seating looks like. And I see it, an advertisement for Pyrex tools. It says so on the screen. And then the voiceover says it again, “Pirate stools.“ I haven’t misheard. He’s not articulating. He’s slurring the words, running them together so that the Pyrex and the tools unite to create the piratestools.

I imagine that such slurring is what leads to other verbal misunderstandings and to people thinking that they’re saying the right thing when they aren’t. Certainly it makes sense when I hear someone call Alzheimer’s disease “old-timers disease“ since it afflicts older folks. It’s actually named for the German neurologist, Dr. Alois Alzheimer. And “carpool tunnel syndrome” could possibly be brought on by too much driving, but it’s still carpal tunnel syndrome because carpal means pertaining to the wrist. One of my all-time favorites is something I heard a Miss USA contestant say in 2007: “With the windshield factor, it was 50 below.“ Anyway, be sure you know what you’re talking about if you’re planning a presentation. A dry run in front of a friendly, but critical audience is a good idea.

As for me, I’m still longing for some pirate stools.

What words have you heard or seen misused?

I hate increment weather.
• Overheard at school, January 2007


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