Wednesday, April 22, 2009


HAND ME THAT UMBA


Think about it. About language. Imagine way back in your own language, before it existed, back where you can't even use words to think about it, it's just pure thought there at the beginning when no one said anything, everybody just breathed, and just breathing was enough for an eon or two, then one day something clicked in the mind of one individual and in an early form of illumination a light went on.

She now saw (it was most likely a she, we're talking deep nuance here, after all, and she had heard her baby say ma-ma; the guys were likely out cracking rocks together or running after mammoths, other essential learning tasks) some radically efficient modality, a way to simplify yet introduce/embody a new realm of complexity, a new spiritual reality or whatever, there were no words for it yet, which was part of the just-dawning problem, the neochronic need to codify memory and whatnot--

In any case, the lingomother suddenly saw the gateway, decided to name something, pointed at an item of frequent daily use (it must have started with a practical aspect, necessity being the mother etc.) and said: "Umba!" the first intentional word. Before her oddly puzzled colleagues she pointed again at the item, more insistently this time, and said: "Umba!" Then she watched the light come on in their eyes, heard the nickel drop in those brains and language was born in their smiles of sudden understanding of what had just happened. And it was cool. Thus that item of frequent daily use within that small linguistic startup group became "umba." And so it still is today, somewhere, if only in the etymology.

But go from there to: "No not that umba; that one-- the green one with the new audio jack-- the one I got at Circuit City. BTW, have you seen the umbas with system 94.0 and 1500 gigs of RAM? Free holomovies online, Dude!"

How the hell did we get all the way here?

2 comments:

Martin J Frid said...

The Umba didn't go that far, until they found out how to copyright it and make you pay for singing it at the local pub. Unless, of course, you refuse to pay. That's when things get interesting!

Bob Brady said...

Ah, the wealth that is creativity!