Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Any Old Road Will Do

Every decade and most presidencies have their signature contributions to language usage.  True to form, everywhere you look these days someone is putting together a ‘roadmap’ for solving this or that issue.


Which would be cool, but then I think about my own use of such items and get discouraged.  I seldom reach for that coffee-stained and accordion-pleated item, jammed as it usually is in the side-pocket of my car door, unless I am truly lost.  I’ve had the feeling that this administration, perhaps (but not necessarily) more than most, has found itself way off the main highway in a confusion of side roads and unmarked byways. Cheney's been driving and he never asks directions.


Anyway, I find it interesting that just a quick Googling of ‘road map’ brings up the following unusual usages on the first three pages:


  • National Institute of Health’s roadmap for accelerating medical discovery

  • Transsexual Roadmap, transition is merely a journey

  • Bureau of Indian Affairs roadmap, which it claims is only a plan for a roadmap

  • Bush’s roadmap for Israeli-Palestinian peace

  • NASA’s astrobiology roadmap outlining multiple pathways for research

  • A Federal Grants roadmap, leading to the money

  • A dietary roadmap to lose weight

  • A roadmap to the United States Constitution

So what are we to make of all these roadmaps offered to us as if they meant something?  Is it an invitation to connect the dots and see a faint outline of the Big Picture?  A stupid analogy to keep us believing something is actually happening when it’s not? 


When I was a kid, we spent evenings as a family with maps spread all over the living room, plotting out the summer trip.  It was great.  The anticipation built and built.


But then we knew we were actually going somewhere.


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