Thursday, November 13, 2008

Origin of Wii

No evening staring at the tube would be complete without knowing the origins of these terms essential to the couch potato's vocabulary. And just for the record, the term couch potato first appeared in the late 1970's.

Which came first, the TV or the remote? Well, in this case, the use of the term remote control dates back to 1904, while the term  television first made its appearance in English around 1907, Television wouldn't exist for another two decades or so, but at least the name was ready. The word remote comes from the Latin remotus, which means "far off." People have been getting that far off look searching for lost remotes ever since.

The word is comes from the Greek root tele- meaning 'far" and from the Latin, visionem meaning "the act of seeing". The abbreviated form, TV appears to have entered our language around 1948. Other potential names for  television were telephote and televista, but "Hey honey, what's on the telephote tonight?" just didn't sound right to prehistoric couch potatoes.

You say potato; I say let's eat. We can thank the Spanish conquistadores for this one. The word comes from the Carib term for sweet potato, batata. This word was corrupted in Spanish to patata and later entered English as potato. The first potatoes were sweet potatoes, until the Peruvian white potato was discovered. This potato was considered inferior to sweet potatoes and was used as a cheap food source. The rest as they say, is history.

Chances are, no couch potato is a couch potato at all - but rather a sofa potato. Couch as we know it is from the Old French coucher or "to lie down". This term derives from the Latin collocare, which means "to lay". Technically the word couch refers to seating with an upraised head area and half a back. A sofa on the other hand is what most of us refer to as a couch, with its upraised sides and full back. So when your snooty friends refer to you as a couch potato, feel free to correct them to the more proper "sofa potato."
This word is probably derived from the Dutch term, snacken, which means to "snatch" and appears to have entered English as a term for a light meal in the early 1800s.

The word chip derives from the Old English term, forcippian, which means to "pare down by cutting". From this comes cipp meaning a "small piece of wood." Chips, specifically potato chips began in the mid 1800s.

We're not talking about the dance, after all no couch potato in his or her right mind would even think about expending that kind of energy - we're talking about the condiment. As you can guess, this term came to us from Spanish via the Latin term salsus, meaning salted.

This is one of those words that gives English a bad name. No lofty Latin roots here. This word is pure English from the Germanic root drengkan and the Old English drincan.

Channel Surfing
The word channel comes from the Latin canalis, which means a "groove or waterpipe". This would be the same root used for canal. The term came to refer to a "circuit for telegraph communication in the 1840s and was used to describe radio and  television band widths in the late 1920s. Surf has a more mysterious origin, but it is thought to derive from suffe which was used to refer to the coast of India. The term is thought to be a phonetic spelling of sough, which originally meant "a rushing sound". To surf, as in riding waves, began in around 1917 and surfing the web around 1993.

Boob tube
Darn those Romans; they keep inventing our words. Boob comes from the Spanish word bobo meaning a "stupid person." Bobo seems to have its roots in the Latin word balbus which means "stammering" and of similar decent to the word barbarian. If the phrase stammering idiot has any meaning, then perhaps the roots of this word make more sense.

Tube comes to us from the Latin root, tubus, meaning pipe. It's reference to  tv comes from the cathode ray tube, which after being shortened to tube, came to refer to  television in the late 1950s.

As you can see, being a couch potato has a long and honored place in the rich history of our language. Now hurry up, my show's about to start.

15 ways to become a couch potato

To become a successful couch potato, one must follow the rules outlined in this article. Some steps may be more intense than others may but practice makes perfect. I became a couch potato when I retired with disability and injured my back. There are many reasons why people become couch potatoes--especially those who are injured and bed bound. Of course, this is dependent on number, age, independence of children if any available.

Perform important tasks (if able) prior to entering the couch potato mode

Choose a comfortable reclining chair with a small table to hold your foods and drink. Pillows are also helpful

Make sure there are no other couch potatoes present because someone will be needed in order for you to continue in your mode. You don't need competition

You will need someone to refill your drink, etc. Ask in a nice and appreciative manner. Absolutely not in a condescending manner

Keep medications in reach, especially pain medications

Take restroom breaks on commercials or pause TV

Have all TV and Cable remotes available and TV guide on arm of chair. Always have reading materials on table. I have a two tier small table

Keep money on hand in case someone needs to go to store. Also, have checkbook.

Use closed caption when someone is present and will not shut-up or when you are unable to hear TV set

Position chair near door in case someone knocks or ring bell

Always have a cell phone or home phone with in reach

Have a garbage can near you

It is beneficial to own a lap top computer with a lap top table that fits over lap

Do not forget to exercise your legs to avoid developing blood clots that can occur if blood settles in the small capillaries. May slow blood flow and possibly lead to clots, which may break off to the lungs. One of the early signs is pain in calf area, never massage area.

Being a couch potato may last from 2 hours to 8 hours or more a day. It may lead to a better mood and a mental rest, which avoids exploding at family without reason.

Having an electrical plug within reach is very helpful, like for plugging in computer
While being a couch potato, be mindful of eating more junk foods than healthful foods. I munch on yogurt and broccoli. My motive is not to become lazy and gain weight. Your significant other may oppose to your self-imposed time out. It is like stepping out of you to view life afar and thinking of new strategies. Maybe it is doing better with budgeting, shopping only for immediate needs, decreasing eating out, and the need to take a break from the children or life while you and husband go on weekend vacation and stay in a hotel, rekindling the marriage.

Sometimes it is difficult to become a couch potato if you have a family to tend to; but remember you can participate in video games and read to your child while still being a couch potato. Remain reclining at all points (if able) but that does not mean you cannot become one once they settle down. I like to look out my window at my cardinals and their babies eat out of their container.

Good luck!