Prophylactic shock

In 10 years in the United States, the Crone has gotten quite good at the language.  But only this week she discovered yet another word designed to trip up unwary Europeans roaming the New World. She shares the story to save all her British and Irish readers potential embarrassment, although they probably tutted and tuned out as soon as the word “gotten” was deployed above.   In conversation with former colleagues from the Throbbing Temples the Crone had occasion to mention what she calls cond-ohms. Much tittering from her American-born friends. At first the Crone thought the snickering was generated by the generation-gap, for her friends are all 20 years younger than she. Had she suddenly become the Sunday school teacher who tries to join a conversation about sex, sharing stories that are hard to believe, conjuring images too horrible to contemplate, and generally grossing out everyone? ‘No, no’ said the friends, explaining it was a matter of emphasis and nothing to do with ageism. “It’s condums, not cond-ohms”.

Condums, condums, condums. The Crone is getting used to the word rolling around in her mouth Now, should the occasion arise, she’ll be completly safe to speak out in the CVS. Of course, as the mother of teenagers, the Crone has had plenty of opportunity to expound on the value and necessity of condums, condums, condums (practice makes perfect) in recent years. But of course her children have been too appalled by the conversation to pick her up on her pronounciation–instead they put all their energy into praying the Crone will lose the power of speech altogether.

Anyhow, the incident reminds the Crone of another cross-cultural embarrassment suffered by a Brit friend working for a few months in the US. Said friend was expecting a girlfriend to visit from the UK and questioned the Crone about the brand name and packaging of condums, condums, condums, so he could easily find them in the drugstore and complete his purchase with ease. “Trojans” said the Crone, “You’ll find them by the dispensary till.” But the friend is not much of a shopper and panics in retail space. Unable to identify the product to match his needs, he eventually found an assistant. “What are you looking for sir?”  “Centurions” stuttured the confused would-be customer and was surprised when the store staff said they didn’t carry them. The weekend went downhill after that…

About Liz Barron

US Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia. Permanent address in Washington DC. Deep roots in Northern Ireland and persistent Belfast accent. Blogger,cook, mother, grandma, Scrabble-player and enthusiastic world traveler.
This entry was posted in Crone in America, Gangsta Hansel & Ghetto Gretel, the Throbbing Temples and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Prophylactic shock

  1. Pingback: There’s no getting away from it… « Blarneycrone’s Weblog

  2. Pingback: A great story on the subject of two countries divided by a common language « Blarneycrone’s Weblog

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