“Staying power” means being in the older sector of society, and if persons have it, can mean they behave in a curmudgeonly fashion, which is cool. At the older, wiser ages of sixty, seventy, eighty or so, a non-freaky balanced-thinking person can see what the problems are in society that are holding back advancement. Growing, changing, flexing, embracing the new are traits of advancing. It is ironic that sometimes new trends hold us back. They are usually those that can be termed “flashes in the pan.” One example might be texting while driving. While this is seductively empowering for multi-taskers, the tendency to do this leads to wrecks. Time will tell if driverless cars have staying power.
Other screen devices may have changed the brains of children craving the empowerment of playing warring games on the computer or TV. Does it change the way their eyes see what’s around them, too? Another example could be handwriting. Although definitely not a flash in the pan, handwriting is not being taught much in school any more.
Cursive writing used to be third-grade curriculum. Nowadays, some people trying to communicate cannot produce an attractively legible note or letter any more, being out of practice from keyboarding. This missing form of politeness is one of the new things that stands out to us older, wiser types. Who doesn’t feel good when receiving a thank-you note, handwritten, for doing something nice? Who doesn’t like the feeling of opening the mailbox and finding something personal? A note is a work of art because the author chose the paper and pen, the thoughts, and even which postage stamp. Add a clever seal for a final touch? Stick on a custom-made return address label? In the book The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting, author Anne Trubek states that handwriting is lauded as something that embodies positive personal qualities such as rigor over facile information processing, and individual emotion over impersonal mechanization.
Also, she misses typing, as do I– I was so fast at it– the hard shove of the carriage return and the satisfying flick of the completed page out of the platen, Trubek writes.
Not all things new have staying power. Like our cell phones, the computer does, for writing. So much editing can be so easily done by a writer using the computer. The cell phone and the computer have staying power, but how about cursive writing skill? Can society keep valuing the forming of lovely connected marks, the fluid forward-going ellipses of cursive writing?
To repeat, the older person can often discern which people new in serving a role, or which processes/best practices will stay around versus those that soon are done for, simply a flash in the pan. Staying power can mean “sustainable,” a well-worn word. It brings to mind another word, “ecology,” new in the 1950s, a word that may have been coined by Rachel Carson in her famous nonfiction book SILENT SPRING. She was the author who blew the whistle on DDT pesticide’s killing off birds .
Even though plastics awareness has taken hold in the public consciousness, which is the concept that too much non-biodegradable material is bad for earth, we know that plastic items are handy and you don’t have to wash them. Consider diapers. From the earliest of ancient time, babies have needed diapers. Can you imagine any parent refusing the perfectly designed and engineered Pampers, Huggies, and other paper + plastic diapers? No, you can’t, but oddly enough, plastics, sustainable in concept, being an inventive solution with staying power in the public eye, are “non-sustainable” trash items that planet earth cannot forever provide the graveyard.
Rolls of paper towels in every kitchen are certain to stay, have the power to stay, used for blotting washed vegetables and wiping anything on any surface. And speaking of kitchens, the iron skillet has sustained itself to good cooks. Meats brown up in them; an iron skillet even seeming to add flavor. An iron skillet is not just a flash in the pan; it is a cook’s old friend, perfect for braising, going straight into the oven from the cooktop.
Consider vinyl recordings. The first grooved musical platters to be heard from the effect of a stylus in the groove of that spinning black vinyl have never disappeared for good. Records diminished in popularity, but they have staying power, even though technology advanced to audiotape and CDs. Those new products got popular, but vinyl record collectors held steady. Vinyl has proven to have staying power.
Athletic competition is a fruitful area of interest when considering staying power versus the flash in the pan, both in terms of individual performers and the event as the structure for performance. Fans who follow horse racing on television each May have heard commentary that the Triple Crown, Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Horse Races, are the most popular events of all, through and through, events with staying power.
Consider a bouquet. Through long, long times ago and still today, presenting a bouquet has signified “You Are Successful!” whether in a stage performance, celebrating a birthday or anniversary, a get-well-quick gift, or declaration of love or appreciation. Beautiful flowers wrapped together for passing from one hand to another have proven to have staying power.
New meanings of words, and word pairings ease communications efforts. A current example is the popular phrase “going forward,” used in ways such as this: “What with New York and Brooklyn’s underground train-signaling system needing an upgrade of so many billions of dollars, ‘going forward,’ what is the city to do?” Moreover, “sayings,” even if very old, help us expedite communication. This author is completely enamored with sayings. If they are epigrammatic, I love them all the more. I do not surprise myself by my choice of subject matter for this post on my six-year-old blog.
I wonder, will there be any other images that could be worked in here, into this post? Portraits of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Jean-Michel Basquiat?
Here’s an to end this post with some definitions of the term “sayings,” sayings such as “a flash in the pan,” and then here’s a list of sayings I can think of that are cool. For my fellow word lovers and sentence writers out there in the blogosphere, and for every custodian of the English language, I say catch yourself using these sayings, and then think of little children who would benefit from an interpretation of the saying. Especially enjoy the list if you help toddlers who would otherwise have no clue about the meaning. Here is the string of synonyms for “sayings”: Sayings are “epigrams,” “adages,” “maxims,” “aphorisms,” “proverbs,” “euphemisms,” “idioms,” “cliches,” “mottos,” “witticisms,” “quips,” or “old saws.” And here are some good ones:
- flash in the pan: the person getting the attention cannot sustain the role
- fly by the seat of your pants: no approach is seen, so invent what to do
- God willing and the creek don’t rise: a response to an invitation that is “yes” but provides a loophole
- no time like the present: when opportunity presents itself, perhaps it should be taken!
- throw in the towel: you are beaten; the other person or situation against you has won
- pedaling through sauerkraut: someone who is having a tough time going in a happy flow (sauerkraut being a shredded mess of wet, fermented cabbage, it would be tricky)
- even monkeys fall from trees: said to comfort someone who couldn’t believe she had an accident or other negative surprise
- water under the bridge: don’t keep something on your mind– let it go! that thing has flowed away
- kill two birds with one stone: the “bird” is a task or responsibility; a smart worker doubles the accomplishment with one effort
- thumb in your back: someone’s thumb pushing encourages you to put your shoulders back and keep going
- tie a string around your finger: see it and remember; “Now, what was it I was supposed to remember?”
- there is no free lunch: alas, when you thought you were being given a nourishing thing for free, you ended up paying something after all
- eyes in the back of your head: someone in authority has a skill of transperception and sees that no misbehavior goes unnoticed
- keep your eyes peeled: a request for assistance in being on the lookout for something
- open a can of worms: detail a subject that causes tiresome communication, disinterest, or disagreement
- fill the bill: something or someone that is just right, what was hoped for
- third time’s charm: heralding that someone got or would get the desired result by keeping on after two tries
- a New York minute: the unknown time that something may take that usually only takes a minute or two