Tuesday, October 28, 2014


English is a difficult language.  I work with people who know multiple languages—Russian, German, and many others.  One lady even knows Swahili!  (Or so she says… it really only works if there is another person around who can vouch for it.   

One Swahili-speaking person = not impressive.   
TWO Swahili-speaking people = awesome!

These multi-lingual people are running around having multiple conversations and meanwhile I can barely read and write English.  However, me like words.  Me like words long time. 

Speaking of language: one annoying phrase is the old “I know, right?” This in and of itself is no big deal, but when used in a conversation it makes me want to jump off of a tall building.  Quick example:

Me: Hi there.  You look busy!

Person: I know, right?

Me: Yes.  Yes I do.  You look busy.

Person: I know, right?  I’m so busy.

Me: Are you almost finished the Johnson project?

Person: I know, right?

Me: No… no I don’t.  I need to know, hence why I’m asking.

Person: I know, right?

Me: Please find a toaster and a bathtub so I can end this.   

Okay, so a slight exaggeration for hilarious comedic purposes, but you get the idea.  The other one I don’t like is when someone says “you’re not kidding!” Again, this does nothing to add to my life in any meaningful way.  I make a witty observation and people will exclaim, “man! You’re not kidding.” Well, in fact sometimes I am kidding, but I’m not about to point it out now.  Now I feel all stressed out.  I’m busted.  What if they find out at a later time that I was in fact, kidding?  WHAT THEN?  Best just to hide in the bushes until they leave.  Problem solved. 

There are all sorts of parts of language that we use that are annoying, but only if you are aware of it.  I will now destroy your life for the next 40 years by bringing up the word “Um”.  Not really a word, um.  Before, you might not have even noticed “um”.  Now, you will hear it every time you listen to the radio, you’re your mouth, or hear any other humans speak, ever. 

Is “um” really a word?  Sure, you can play it in Scrabble, and you might even place the “Um” on a triple word score, but that doesn’t make it a real word in my opinion.  (The same goes for “Muzjiks”—not cool—I know that Russian peasants are people, they are real, and they deserve human rights, but it is annoying when people beat me at Scrabble using weird words.)  So, ummmmm, where were we? 
I ask again: is “um” even a real word?  Well, um, “um” is considered a “filler” word by the wordanistas, also known as people who are English professors.  They went to school.  Braggers!  According to the interwebs, it is typically used to denote a pause when talking.  In other words, “um” translates into “I’m not finished!”  I will also throw “uh” into this category.  Um and Uh are pretty much the same thing as far as I’m concerned—they both mean, “I am thinking, so please shut your pie hole until I can get my words out.”  On the other hand, “ugh” is totally different—“ugh” is what most people think when they hear the words “pie hole”.  See?  Words are fun!

I’m not a big fan of being super-picky on words.  Words, phrases, and what has been commonly used by the average “layperson” has changed over the past millennium.  Imagine sitting in the Globe Theatre back in the Middle Ages and listening to a Shakespeare play.  First of all, I wouldn’t understand any of it—English was way different back then.  Too many thees, and if you throw in a “wherefor art thou” I am pretty much finished.  Secondly, I would question why I was able to travel back in time only to sit in a theatre watching a play.  Aren’t there any Hitlers around to murder?  No apple to drop on Newton’s head?  Give me something constructive to do please.

My point is that words and phrases have changed over the years, so I am not inherently opposed to weird new phrases like “LOL” (Laugh Out Loud) or “ROTFL” (Rolling On The Floor Laughing)—come to think of it, there is a lot of laughing going on these days.  Enough with the Ls, everyone. 

Now before I start sounding all zen and centered, I do want to point out that there is one thing that I cannot stand under any circumstances—and it’s more of a numbers thing than a word thing:

The 0.99 cent sale.

This really irritates me.  The seller means to put 0.99 DOLLARS on a sign, not 0.99 cents.  0.99 cents is almost one whole penny.  One big fantasy in my life involves me buying 100 “0.99 cent” items, dropping a dollar at the checkout till and telling the cashier to keep the change.  Dammit that would be so awesome!  They would call the police, and when the officer showed up, I would calmly explain that the 0.99 means it is almost one penny.  Then I would get tazed.  Then I would soil myself, because electricity will eventually lead to paralysis.  But THEN, and only then, would I be able to go to court, plead my case to the judge and jury, and “0.99 cents” would be struck down for all time. 

Then who would have the last LOL?