28 January 2005


Last night my Mom asked me to fix her VCR. The problem (as it always is) was that the channel on the VCR was set to 2 instead of 3, so it wasn't recording off the feed for the television. For some reason it always returns to this setting after a power cycle.

"Why does it change?" she asked.

"I guess channel 2 is the default for some reason," I replied.

"Default? What do you mean?"

"You know. Default. It's the default setting."

"Like defaulting on a loan?"

Now maybe I'm just stupid, but I had no idea that the usage of default meaning "the standard state" is a very recent definition attributed in the dictionary with the note computer science. I guess the word doesn't really apply to anything except electronic gizmos controlled by software instead of an actual person. If you had asked me to define default, however, I would've immediately given that definition and relegated the concept of failing to fulfill an obligation to secondary status.

The word default is a huge part of my lexicon: I use it literally almost every day. Amusing to think that my Mom didn't even know what I meant.

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