Mielke: Talking the talk

  • May. 2, 2017 12:30 a.m.

Throughout my journey as a journalist there have been a few benevolent people who have complimented me on my command of the English language.

Some kind souls have even referred to me as a wordsmith.

However, any illusions that I may have harboured about myself in that regard were shattered to pieces last Saturday by none other than my 14-year-old granddaughter.

She talks the talk. The teen talk.

And I found our communication wires got all mixed up when I tried to span the generation gap between myself and this wonderful woman/child/granddaughter.

It started with the road trip to the big city where my lovely granddaughter was competing in a CHEER competition.

I was excited to be invited along. Three generations of women together on a road trip.

How fun!

My granddaughter, her shiny dark blond hair gathered into a bouncy ponytail, climbed obligingly into the back seat.

Almost before we drove out of the driveway she asked her mom if grandma could be the disc jockey.

“No,” said her mom. “Grandma is an even worse disc jockey than me.”

I felt a little twinge of resentment at those words because I was sure I could be a great disc jockey if only I knew what to do.”

It turns out I didn’t. Apparently to be a disc jockey you had to turn the radio to the exact right volume depending on the song. It helped if you knew, not only the song, but also the group who were performing the song.

I discovered most times I knew neither.

It didn’t take me long to figure out a lot of these songs and/or groups that were being played didn’t get a lot of air time on CBC radio, which is usually my station of choice.

A song by Journey came on, which I discovered was a popular band in the ’80s when my daughter was a teenager. I didn’t even know that little bit of trivia and I found myself sinking into my seat in shame.

Finally, Insensitive, a song by Jan Arden came on.

“I know that song,” I said triumphantly, trying to redeem myself.

“Is that your jam, grandma?” my granddaughter asked.

“My what?” I said, thinking I had heard her incorrectly.

Jam is something I make in the summer, lining up the pint sized jars proudly on my kitchen counter. Jam is delicious on toast.

“No,” I retorted, indignantly. “It is not.”

My daughter explained gently to me that ‘jam’ in teen talk means ‘good’. It means ‘I love that song.’

Later my granddaughter said something about the party being a ‘bomb.’

Apparently ‘bomb’ means ‘great.’ The party was ‘great.’

I was quiet for the rest of the trip, mulling these new word meanings over in my mind.

I recalled something I read once that said communication is only 10 per cent verbal.

Somehow, I find that thought very comforting, even though I really do want to learn this new language, this teen talk.

But for now I think I’m just going to go and listen to some ’60s music.

And see if I can find my jam.

Treena Mielke is the editor of the Rimbey Review. She lives in Sylvan Lake.

Just Posted

Relatives of murdered family critical of killers’ sentences

Open letter to sentencing judge criticizes ruling allowing killers to apply for parole in 25 years

City rolling out Green Carts

Green Carts used for organics, such as yard waste, food scraps and pet waste

New teaching standards applauded

New code of standards affecting teachers, principals and superintendents to kick in Sept. 1, 2019

UPDATED: Agriculture minister speaks to cattle producers

2018 Alberta Beef Industry Conference underway in Red Deer

Updated: Red Deer gets WHL Bantam Draft and Awards Banquet

WHL will holds its draft and awards ceremony in Red Deer for next three years

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Twenty years later, figure skating’s most famous backflip remains amazing (and illegal)

Figure skating involves spins, jumps, twizzles and a whole host of other… Continue reading

You don’t need to chop like a TV chef to get the job done

Standing in line at the emergency room, makeshift bandage around my finger,… Continue reading

Seychelles swaps debt for groundbreaking marine protection

CURIEUSE ISLAND, Seychelles — With deep blue waters, white sand beaches and… Continue reading

Trump endorses raising minimum age to 21 for more weapons

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump endorsed stricter gun-control measures Thursday, including raising… Continue reading

Red Deer blood clinic in need of 600 donors

Aunt encourages Central Albertans to donate blood after losing nephew

Court considers banning diesel cars in German cities

BERLIN — A German court began considering Thursday whether authorities should ban… Continue reading

US women beat Canada in Olympic hockey; Gisin tops Shiffrin

PYEONGCHANG, Korea, Republic Of — A tense shootout, a dazzling deke and… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month