While walking around the warehouse, I noticed several orange cones. Navigating
in all areas of our life we need to use care and caution. Slippery areas are bound to
turn up. What we do during these stressful times and how we handle them can be
a true example of what kind of character traits we embody. Our values are put to the
test throughout our lives.
The New Brittanica – Webster Dictionary (1981 version) gives us this definition of
1. Having a surface smooth enough to slide or lose one’s hold, (a slipppery floor.)
2. Not worthy of trust, (tricky, unreliable.)”
Roads, bridges and underpasses are “slippery when wet.” When the weather changes,
ice freezes the sidewalks and other things that can be dangerous, like cement steps
or metal fire escapes. Fog or rain’s moisture creates slippery conditions, too. Anyone
who has slid on an icy road in a car or “hydro-planed” through a large puddle has
possibly seen their life pass or flash before their eyes.
Here are a few different ways that ‘slippery’ can be viewed in a more humorous light:
1. How many times have you lost a plate or a glass due to soapy water? (It may not be
a funny memory, if it was a valuable dish or antique wine goblet that slipped out of
your grasp. This is a matter of your perspective and how you handle being a ‘klutz.’
It is usually my habit to tend to laugh.)
2. Is there anything more slippery than a wet baby? Of course, another subject all
together, is a greased pig contest.
3. When you are attempting to wash a wriggly kitten or a squirming puppy you may
think they are the most slippery creatures alive.
4. Often home deliveries or cartoons about doctors delivering babies depict ones that
arrive so fast they need a catcher’s mitt!
5. Paired with the romantic images of silken skin, the subject can become sensuous.
Slinky, glazed slippery bodies glide together. Sometimes the scenes where films turn
this into ‘spoofs’ can be hilarious.
6. When my son was young, he chose reading books about Reptiles and Amphibians.
I remember learning about the texture and feel of their skin. Salamanders are slimy.
Snakes and chameleons slither but don’t slide. I was so glad when Jamie developed an
interest in mice and a friendship with a rat.
7. I like the following slippery animals/mammals: seals, dolphins and whales.
I think people who are ‘sneaking around’ on their partners are slippery characters.
They just seem to be bending the rules, they cannot be relied upon or counted on.
I also feel that shifty, minor level thieves could fall into this category. I think pick-
pockets have to be particularly ‘slippery’ to get a wallet out of a man’s suit jacket.
I also can imagine a beautiful picture in my mind of ‘slippery’ described like this:
The graceful ice skaters were gliding across the smooth ice. They were grateful
for ice which was slippery like glass. So much better than frozen ponds they
remembered in their youths, with bumps and uneven ice which created flaws
and falls in their programs.
Brainstorming about the idea of ‘slippery’ subjects, I thought about going down a
“slippery slope.” Which sometimes can mean you may soon be shifting your values
or your position on a subject. It can begin by allowing yourself to go just one small
step past what you consider ‘acceptable behavior’ and then, you may bend the rules
even more the next time.
Society may have gone down its own ‘slippery slope.’ People may have memories
of movies that used to be rated, “M” which meant they were “Recommended for
Mature Audiences Only.” It used to be much more prevalent to find movies which
were rated “G.” Now, most movies fall in the “PG-13” and rated “R” categories.
In 2006, a movie called, “Slippery Slope,” was made about a female filmmaker, who
directs a porn film while working on her thesis. (Fictional)
In the areas of government, legal and politics, compromising can be considered
‘normal.’ The idea becomes like a domino effect where ‘one bad decision leads to
another.’ An example of this could be made that the senator got the bill passed by
talking to lobbyists, along with bargaining with senators on both sides of the issue.
Another example of going down that ”slippery slope” in business, employees may be
encouraged to ‘fudge’ on their records, documents and paper work. This is risky
business, since it could be found through company audits or worse still, the IRS
could discover the less than honest paper trail. The IRS and government watch-
dog groups can pursue legal ramifications or bring criminal actions against those
who have gone too far. Agencies should not practice following this fallacy: “The
end justifies the means.”
Since many of us love trees, I would be remiss not to mention the slippery elm tree
which has a fragrant inner bark and is a North American hardwood. I don’t have my
Dad around to ask him what kind of ‘elm blight’ disease our trees had. We had to cut
down several elms while I was in high school, but probably were not slippery elms. I
do remember being sad in the summer since they had provided us much shade, but
(sorry for this) in the fall, it meant less leaves to rake.
There once was a movie with the town of Slippery Rock. I thought it was a Western?
There is a town in Pennsylvania called Slippery Rock.
In the movie, “Hot Fuzz” there is music from 60’s and 70’s British Rock music which
incluides a song called, “Slippery Rock 70’s” written by Nigel Fletcher. This music is
police-themed, light hearted in tone music. (Goofy, funny movie.)
Everyone who is familiar with his music and has heard the song, “Slip Sliding Away,”
may be surprised its 10 years since it came out. This frolicy song written and sung by
Paul Simon on his album, “Still Crazy After all These Years.” (2004)
Languages, with their roots of words, are so fascinating to me. I enjoy the study of
words, their meanings and history sometimes going as far back as Latin or Greek. It
is interesting to learn how they have evolved or changed in usage. Language and the
ways cultures interpret words captures my mind, too.
I hope this post about the etymology of the word, “slippery,” was a fun read for you.
It may show up in your next short story, article or you may add a shady character
who is rather ‘slippery’ when it comes to being captured by the police authorities.
If you speak or know a different language, let me know how ‘slippery’ is written/
translated. Does the meaning of ‘slippery’ stay the same? Or does it change slightly
in its meaning?
To start the ball rolling, “resbaladiza” is the Spanish word for slippery.
Just wondering, since I would not wish it to be lost in translation.