Wild Driver

Jehu.  I so wish that I had known this word when we went to Mexico in March!

Jehu [jee– hoo] is a noun that means fast driver.  It also refers to someone who drives a cab.  (Isn’t a fast driver synonymous with cab driver??)

This word comes to us from the Old Testament.  King Jehu was well-known for driving his chariot at break-neck speeds.  I wonder if there were highway patrolmen back then who gave tickets to speeding chariot drivers . . . So, if someone drives fast, you can say he is a jehu.  (Notice I used the masculine pronoun ‘he.’  That’s because we females never drive over the speed limit, now do we?  Not me!)

Everybody knows that the faster a taxi driver delivers his passenger to the place he wants to go then the taxi can get another passenger.  The more passengers a taxi driver has the more money he makes. Everybody understands this, right?  Right.

When we were in Mexico, we took a taxi from Bucerias where we were staying over to Puerto Vallarta. We chatted with the driver.  We learned about some of the laws that governed taxis. If a taxi driver takes someone to another state in Mexico, that taxi driver cannot pick up a passenger in that state.  He has to go back to the state he is licensed in.

Bucerias is only 20 miles from Puerto Vallarta.  But they are in two different states.  That meant, the taxi driver could not pick up a passenger in Puerto Vallarta.  So, his goal was to get us to Puerto Vallarta and get back to Bucerias as fast as he could.  We flew at Mach 1 speed.

Yahoo, you jehu taxi drivers!

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A New Word From My Sister

The other day, my sister e-mailed me about a word that she had come across that she thought she would share with me since she knows I like words.  The word was semiotics.

Semiotics [see-mee-ot-iks] is a noun that means the analysis of systems of communication, as language, gestures, or clothing.  She had a link to a Wikipedia article about the word.  After she read it, she still didn’t understand the meaning of the word.

I read the article, too, and it wasn’t very clear to me either.  So I looked it up on Dictionary.com.  That helped some.

I took a moment to read a bit more on the Internet to get a better understanding.  (Isn’t the Internet wonderful?) As I understand what I’ve read, semiotics refers to signs or symbols as it relates to language or communication.  It’s a study of how the  meaning of something is constructed and understood. (Sounds like gripping reading material, eh?)

For instance, the letter ‘a’ is a symbol as is all of the other letters of the alphabet.  When you connect the signs (or alphabet letters), they create words that have meaning and stand for something such as apple, ape, astronaut or Android phone. (I wonder how many children’s alphabet books have ‘A is for Android phone?’)

A ‘sign’ could also be a body movement to express meaning, such as wrinkling your nose indicates you don’t like something.  Offer me beets to eat, and not only do I wrinkle my nose, I stick out my tongue, and say, “Blech!”  That’s a symbol that means beets are the nastiest thing on God’s green earth.

Semiotics could even refer to clothing, such as when teenage boys wear baggy pants down around their knees instead of at their waistline so you can see their boxer shorts – indicating the meaning that they are absolute imbeciles.  (That’s my definition of that ‘symbol’…)

It’s also like the picture of three arrows linking in a circle indicates an item that is recyclable.  Or the skull and crossbones indicating hazardous materials.

In my humble opinion, this word is probably something used only in university classrooms and scholarly writings but not much elsewhere.  It isn’t a word that I would use in my day-to-day conversation with family, friends, and the bus driver of public transportation.

By the way, I wondered what in the world my sister was reading when she came across that word.  I doubt it was the daily paper, People magazine, or the work orders from her place of employment.

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