I was sitting in my accustomed corner at the Little Café Near Home, and having secured permission to unplug the television so I could jack in the laptop I was rolling along. Of course, with any writing adventure, there are the blue times, when you are letting things spin in your head, and typing would be a waste of time. It’s like bottling a cloud. It makes a lot more sense after things have condensed.

I was in such a state, moving the big Lego bricks in my head, a long way from the technical bits, when I was politely interrupted. I had peripherally noticed folk at the bar carefully poring over the labels of a couple of thin bottles. It turns out they were pooling their English knowledge to translate the propaganda on the bottle. Like a team solving a puzzle, they had it figured save for one critical word. “This word, chilled, does it mean a little hotter or colder?”

I answered “zima”, he was thankful, and that was that. Except… chill. It’s a reflexive verb now. (I trust my sister to correct me if I’m wrong, I’m just a guy chillin in a pub.) It’s an adjective. “That guy’s chill.” No matter how you use it, chill is good.

For well you know that it’s the fool who plays it cool, when all you have to do is chill.

Of course, by now teenage kids are rolling their eyes when their parents make awkward attempts to use chill. I’ve been a fan of chill for some time now, which means the the days of chill are long past. So it goes. This is one flash in the pan I will miss. Because, come on, “Take a chill pill, man” is poetry. American Haiku.

6 thoughts on “Chill

  1. I have a friend who tells her dog to ‘chill’ whenever he is getting rowdy.
    Of course, down here it is more like “Cainy Boy! Chill, mate. Chill… jeez”

  2. When I read that, I spontaneously read the quote out loud, putting on what was more likely an Aussie accent (if recognizable as anything at all), but it was still fun. Negotiation (typo negoriation reluctantly fixed) with a spastic canine is funny in any language.

  3. And speaking of chill, the word of the day here is “zima”. The snowflakes are falling and my heater is struggling to keep up. I hope the new detergent is all right, because I’m going to have to start wearing clothes again.

  4. Interesting that there is a self-identified “refreshing malt beverage” here in the US that goes by the name “Zima.” I’ve never tasted it myself, but everyone I’ve ever met who has tasted it has found it revolting. The advertising focuses on it being cold — lots of images of ice and frost.

    I stand by you on your descriptivist definitions of “chill.” All of that is part of the evolution of the English language.

    But if a very good Czech word has been distorted into an American brand name for a mediocre product, that, I don’t like.

  5. I have tasted the Zima, and it’s not so good. Advertising and chilly imagery aside, the drink tases like a really weak Gin and Tonic, and was designed for one purpose only: to get girls drunk. Beginning with wine coolers, the booze industry recognized that college boys would pay top dollar for drinks they could ply on girls who had never learned to like beer.

    I just did a thought experiment. Sitting on the table in front of me is a Zima and a Bud Light. One or the other. The man in combat fatigues wearing a ski mask stands over me. “Drink one of of them or I’ll drive this ice pick through your throat and into your spine.”

    “Oh, well, you didn’t say before there was another option!”

    Zima and Bug Light. Which would I choose. If I only have to drink one, I would choose Zima. More than one, and the nod goes to Bud Light, but by then the ice pick is starting to look attractive.

  6. I think the word the guys were looking for is “chlazene.” It’s the kind of chill that a beer would be. Seems they don’t really use it as slang.

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