Since the birth of our beloved Mr. Noodle some 5 years ago, a very disturbing trend has come to my attention––one that threatens to corrupt our culture’s lexicon.
Ladies and gentlemen, I speak of “snack”.
In my childhood, when life was holy, “snack” was properly used as a verb:
“I’d like to snack on something sweet.”
or a noun:
“Let’s have some snacks!”
So imagine my horror and confusion when asked to ” . . . please provide snack for the class on Monday.” as though “snack” had somehow morphed into a formal meal category, standing shoulder to shoulder with the hallowed trinity of singularly expressed “breakfast”, “lunch”, and “dinner”.
A snack, as an event, is a floater––it can occur anytime, unlike the temporally bound social contract we’ve made with breakfast (morning), lunch (mid-day), and dinner (evening). One would deservedly be met with incredulous glares for suggesting “grabbing lunch” at midnight. On the other hand, a snack can be had at any moment in a 24-hour day and be warmly received as an acceptable recommendation.
One would never ever call a friend and ask, “Want to do snack?”. No, I’ll have a snack with you, and yes, when we get together we can eat snacks.
OK, back to the linguistic abuse that inspired this rant. On my appointed day, I indeed arrived at the pre-school bearing “a small amount of food eaten between meals”, and because there were ten children, I brought ten snacks, but I in no shape, form, or fashion brought “snack” as a collective term referring to the ten chilled rainbow hued gelatinous Go-Gurt yogurt tubes in my possession.
Here’s how it works, people: one kid: one snack; ten kids: ten snacks. And, “we are going to have snacks at 10am”. Only after you step over my cold, dead, Cheez-it clutching body will our children be having ” . . . snack at 10am”.
Mind you, I am not a linguistic conservative, and fully support the idea of language as a malleable and evolving entity, but dear friends, some things are beyond the pale, and I count this bastardization of the beloved snack among them. If you insist on boarding the short yellow snack bus, have at it. For me and mine, we’ll remain on the curb waiting for the snacks laden limo to arrive.