When an area mother of brothers found herself in a cluttered, ratty thrift shop  Saturday, her hopes were low.  “It didn’t look like the kind of place that would have amazing mint-condition Tammis Keefe tablecloths,” she said, noting the shop’s location in a gritty oil refinery town.

So when she found some 1970s Milton Bradley educational materials for $5 each, it was a surprise bonus. 

“Homonyms, synonyms, antonyms – all on giant cards – this is just the kind of thing buyers on etsy pounce on .  They’re heavily into ’70s stuff now because these are the years of their childhood memories,” the shopper explained.  “They’ll buy these cards for use in scrapbooking, collages, altered art, or even to display ironically in their uber-hip ranch houses.”

Flipping through the box’s contents, the thrifty shopper was surprised to see a dark trend emerging.  Grim word pictures were painted.  Synonyms in particular were fraught with sneering descriptions of the elderly, and dark themes in general.  “You would never see this stuff in children’s educational materials today,” she said.  “I was surprised at the implied violence and mentions of death.  It’s as if the Grim Reaper took a holiday, got bored, and decided to spend it temping at Milton Bradley instead of lounging around.”

Asked if she had a theory on the copywriter’s gender, she said,  “Oh yes, I’m sure it was a man.  Not only is there the violence of the synonyms, but take a look at one of his homonym sets.  Can you imagine the snickering and noisemaking this particular poster would have set off among the boys in the classroom?  Definitely a dude.  I rest my case.”

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