Frankly, er, if you will 

Clip Art Panda

Clip Art Panda

A few months ago, I read the following letter in Dear Annie’s newspaper column: “Over the years, my husband has developed an odd habit. When asked a simple question, such as, ’Would you like another cup of coffee?’ he replies, ‘If you are so inclined.’ I find this peculiar, not to mention condescending, and it’s driving me crazy.”

I’d have advised her to run away from home.

The mindless use of words or phrases we develop a fondness for and sprinkle throughout our conversations can be irksome, especially to our loved ones. My normally patient mother looked grim when my father, preparing his bowl of oatmeal, habitually said, “Please pass the shug, Shug,” Seems a small thing, but hearing it several mornings a week, year in and year out, might wear on a person.

Sometimes Joel mentions a flaw in my operating system, such as letting me know he hates it when I assume he’s finished and put his coffee cup in the dishwasher. After I give my routine reply, “I know you do, Joel,” I’m struck by his resemblance to my mother on oatmeal mornings.

My sister Barbara developed a conversational habit when young that turned her siblings mean. When asked a question, she’d answer it and add, “Hint hint.”

“Barbara, would you quit banging on the piano?”

“No I won’t. Hint hint.” Our days were filled with hint hints and thumps.

My first principal relied heavily on behoove. He behooved the staff to use less construction paper, the students to walk in the halls, and the school board to think twice. Every staff meeting ended with “And one last thing: it would behoove you to include more detail in your lesson plans.”

The oldest member of the staff began entertaining the rest of us during staff meetings by dropping his pencil to the floor each time he heard a behoove. He quit after a record-setting fourteen drops because bending over to retrieve his pencil so many times made him lightheaded.

While on a cruise, Joel and I along with fifty other good-timers crowded onto a powerboat that ferried us from our ship to the port of Belize. A young Belizean welcomed us aboard and explained the rules, relying heavily on “right” to check our understanding: “Life jackets for adults are under the seats, right? You should put them on children first, right? And please stay in your seats until we arrive, right?”

He had more than his share of charm and a bright smile, so the passengers began teasing him with a good-natured “Right!” in response. His smile increased, especially when he had the last laugh, “You don’t need to say right every time I say right. Right?”

I sometimes watch a cable talk show during which a panel discusses political issues and current happenings. One of the moderators begins most of her opinions with “I’m sorry, but….”

I long to tell her, “Frankly, my dear, it would behoove you to buck up, if you will. In other words, quit apologizing. Actually, you know, I don’t think you’re really sorry, get it? Like, in all honesty, if you’re sorry, technically, you, um, wouldn’t continue. Right? Hint hint.”

So anyway, I’ve lost my train of thought, OK? Could you, uh, share with me where I was? If you’re so inclined.

Advertisements

74 thoughts on “Frankly, er, if you will 

  1. This is a terrific post. Reminds me of when I was young and I said, “I’m sorry” all the time. My mother-in-law told me it was driving her crazy and removed the sincerity out of any real apology. (No, I wasn’t upset with her. She was right.) I examined where it came from to discover it came from my childhood. I stopped immediately. Now, with your post, I’m going to do some navel gazing to see what other trite words I might be using out of habit. Thanks for this insightful read.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Did she correct you kindly or angrily, Laurel? Either way, you are a good model for the rest of us on how to hear criticism, examine it, and learn from it if we need to. We all have pet phrases, and I think that’s O.K. It’s when we tag them onto the beginning or end of our every utterance that they can become annoying, and I doubt you do that..

      Like

  2. Here are some that drive me nuts: at the end of the day, that’s a good question, with all due respect, it is what it is. At the end of what day? Today? Tomorrow? When ever you hear, that’s a good question or I’m glad you asked that question, you know they don’t have an answer. When you hear, With all due respect, you know they’re about to say something disrespectful. And just what the hell is it?
    I’ve got a friend who doubles his “is’s.”
    What it is, is, is . . ..

    Liked by 3 people

    • Nice observations, Rob. I could have used any of your three in my post. As a teacher, I never said, “That’s a good question,” because I thought it implied the questions asked by others were no good. The is, is, is speech pattern is unique indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What drives me crazy is, “mmm, K?” or “OK?” at the end of something that clearly doesn’t require agreement or consensus. A lot of my colleagues did this, especially in ESL. “The past perfect verb tense is used when we are talking about two past actions; it shows the action that happened in the more distant past, OK?” “No, dammit, it’s not OK.” I SO wanted some student to say that… It’s amazing how we “absorb” language patterns. I was like, you know, like using like a lot when I like first moved out here because I like had so much contact with college kids who were all like using like all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I, too, disliked the use of OK? as a check for understanding in classrooms. What student would dare interrupt the flow of information to respond either way? As for like, I find after every visit with our grandchildren who are teenagers and college students, Joel and I are liking everything. It gradually wears off along with the illnesses we collect from the younger ones.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Methink you’ve opened a can of worms with this delicious post Janet. My current challenge is to keep hold my tongue when the MOTH tells me he ‘hasn’t gotten there yet’. We both knows he either has no intention of getting to whatever it is he needs to or he has forgotten and is covering his you-know-what. Another one is ‘whatever’ – not the MOTH’s saying, thank goodness – which makes me want to slap someone …

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You would really hate me. I have developed a particular phrase you wouldn’t like at all. I got so frustrated with people passing me by and asking how am I doing as they do so. Especially when they weren’t even paying attention to my answer. So I started giving them, “I ain’t dead yet.” When they stop and give me a look as if they’re trying to be sure, I add to that,” But I plan on putting on my tombstone, “I’m dead now.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. One I used to hear often in the workplace was “Now don’t take this the wrong way….” which typically made my back stiffen a bit as if to put up an invisible wall as to what was coming next. It usually meant criticism was coming down the pike. lol 👁👁

    Liked by 2 people

  7. After 70 years of marriage there are so many phrases which rattle my cage. One is in answer to my query “Would you like more—?” “If you have any” Now really, would I have offered if I had none? My huge annoyance is: “I don’t need your help; I can do it myself.” We are all guilty I guess. Such a good post Janet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Kayti. I’m glad I wrote this blog because my readers’ comments, like yours, have tickled me. It’s fun to see what drives others crazy and to learn these irritations exist in most close relationships. I think we develop habitual responses without thinking that over the years they might grate on our loved ones.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. So I guess the Princess’s response of “BITE ME!” when she’s a “tad annoyed” with me may be something that would technically put you over the edge? Hint. Hint. Right??? ;)p

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh those things that irk..newscasters who cannot read, and interviewers saying “Umm”. Every day I explain Quinoa to someone from how to pronounce it to how the dog may eat it, usually to a blank face, of non comprehension. Great post my dear.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is the constant repetition that is irksome, isn’t it? And explaining Quinoa would certainly begin to grate upon a person.The other day at the super market I heard a man ask a worker to help him find some of that queen-o-a stuff his wife wanted him to get. I smiled only because I had a similar strangled pronunciation of the grain until someone corrected me.

      Like

      • Ah, hah, perhaps they did notice and mentally groaned and rolled their eyes! I’m going to conduct the same experiment the next time I’m around several people. I’ll let you know if I get the same results.

        Like

  10. I started laughing at your advice “to run away from home” and laughed even harder at your principal who “behooved”. Such a fun post. I’m reminded of my dear son-in-law who asked me to please stop referring to anything in the future as “when I’m dead and gone.” I wonder what else I’m annoyingly saying that makes my family wince. Perhaps when I’m rested I’ll ask. Perhaps. Perhaps not.
    Uh-oh. Perhaps I already know.

    Like

  11. A high school principal I had used “behoove” all the time. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone use that word since then, until I read it in your post today. I wonder if behoove is a word unique to principals and/or educators?

    A few years ago a nephew of mine pointed out that I say “in the grand scheme of things” way too often. Huh. Like, is there a “grand scheme”? And if so, what is it?
    Well, in the grand scheme of things, I suppose he was right. (And I don’t use that phrase nearly as often as I used to.)

    Loved your ending. Very clever. And another fun post, Janet!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Fantastic! You have such a vast array of examples. One here in Australia that is popular is ‘absolutely.’ There are just so many, Your principal surely must have picked up the pencil dropping coinciding with his use of behoove? ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you enjoyed this post, Maizie. The word behoove has always tickled me for some reason. I’m going to add “basically” to my list. It’s another good one I’d forgotten.

      Like

  13. Love this:). Especially as a word nerd. My sister, when telling a story, repeatedly says, “I said.” As in: “So I said, ‘What a lovely day.'” Which wouldn’t be so bad, except if she says multiple sentences to someone, you get the “I said” before or after each damn sentence. Drives me nuts!

    Like

  14. I am a word nerd as well, which makes me hyper-aware of verbal patterns, so I have long collected them. I’ll add your sister’s tic to my list. I can see why it would drive you nuts. It is “you know” thrown into every sentence as though it’s a mark of punctuation that sends me around the bend.

    Like

  15. Hi Aunt Beulah
    I have been knee deep in cleaning products and sweat, cleaning homes, units, caravans you name it..
    I dash near missed this fabulous story, so very funny !!
    I love all the comments from your loyal fans, I am making it sound like you are a Rock Star, your a star to me Aunt Beulah and I am a huge fan of yours.
    I think that Belizean fellow must have some Aussie blood in him Aunt Beulah, ( not impossible, hint hint ), perhaps he spent too much time in Australia at some point, either, either it is common to hear ‘ Right ‘ mentioned more than once in Aussie conversation.
    The one that amuses me the most is ‘Aye’ (Eh)
    How ya doin’ ‘aye’
    Geez it’s cold ‘aye ‘
    How cool was that ‘aye ‘
    Good game of footy that, ‘aye’
    Are you screaming Annie stop! stop! ??
    It drives you nuts ‘aye’ 😲
    I think this one is unique to Aussies but I may be wrong.

    It is quite an experience to be introduced to some ( not all, I must add ) Aussies in full verse.
    The conversation might sound a little like this….

    Aussie 1….G’day mate, How’s it goin’ ?? ( this mainly means life in general )
    Aussie 2….Yeah! Can’t complain mate, no buggers listenin’ anyway, aye!
    1…..Nah! ( no) Yeah! ( yes ), Right!
    2…..What about you mate, all good???
    1…..Can’t complain either mate ‘ aye ‘
    Awkward laughter ensues…….

    I whisk Pete’s coffee cup, plate, knife, fork all out from under him, much to his annoyance, he complains every time but I ignore him and so it has gone for over 40 years now.
    In my defence he repeatedly says, “what was that, I didn’t hear what you were saying?”
    Now that simply doesn’t get a reply anymore, just what he intended….ugh!!!!!!

    Basically! Is another word used excessively and ‘ you know what I mean ‘
    Well basically no I don’t know what you mean, should, could be the reply, but not wishing to make your co converser feel silly
    You reply instead, ” absolutely mate ! ” know exactly what ya mean mate, aye ”

    We’re a funny ol’ bunch, all of the quirky play on words we have mentioned must all have a translation in another language
    Now that would be very funny to hear, Aunt Beulah
    Dare I say it?????…………oh go on!! Aye!!!!! 😂😂😂😂😂

    Sending lots and lots of love and warm fuzzy hugs your way
    From
    Annie in Australia 🌞 🌴 🌊 💜 💜 💜 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    • First, I am so glad you have the health and strength to be working and sweating after all you’ve been through. Hurray!! Next, I laughed, chuckled and snorted as I read you description of Aussie speech mannerisms. How funny you are and what a good ear you have for the quirks and oddities of language. You are a bright little bulb, you are. And your light radiates all the way to Craig, Colorado, and warm my day. Hugs and more hugs for you, my dear Annie. I hope your day is as bright and beautiful as you are.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have told you this before and I need to tell you again
        I love your stories Aunt Beulah, I have yet to visit your most recent and can’t wait to read it.
        I so wish I could write like you, you write with ease and it really comes through in all your stories…..you know I have to fess up and tell you I have so many drafts for a story, all begging to be finished and I can’t seem to finish just one of them.
        Thankyou for your kind words Aunt Beulah, I am glad you got a laugh from my reply to Frankly-er-if-you-will, this story was so close to home for me.
        I love you so much!!! and forever!!!!
        Hope your travels are going great!!!!! Take care!!!
        Sending you big ol’ hugs…
        From
        Annie in Australia 🌞 🌴 🌊 💜 💜 💜

        Like

      • What a kind and loving note, my dear Annie. I need to tell you that I wouldn’t want you to write like me. Your voice is so vibrant and compelling that you need to write the way you write. I also need to tell you that the pieces that I publish may look like I write with ease, but it took many rewritings to make them appear so. I said rewriting rather than work, because I don’t consider revising my pieces work. I find it fun to polish and change, adding and deleting,rearranging, trying to make every word count and taking out unnecessary, empty, or repetitive sentences or phrases. By the time a piece reaches my blog or newspaper audience I have worked it over again and again and again and again and again and a few more agains. Then I have my husband read and critique it and redo it one more time. Whew!! Sounds like work, I know, but I consider it helping my writing to put its best foot forward. Why don’t you take one of your stories and work on it every day for a week for as much time as you can spare, even if its five minutes. I’m sure you’ll finish it and polish it until you think, ‘Wow! That’s pretty good!! I think I’ll publish it!!! And even if you don’t, practicing like that will make the next thing you write even better. All that said, I should add that I’ve enjoyed, laughed, and appreciated your writing every time you’ve published a blog. If anything, following my suggestions would only be polishing the diamonds you already write. Love, love, love back to you. Janet

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Janet, Annie’s praise to you is well deserved and your reply to her is encouraging to wanna-be writers. When you first told me you rewrite and polish many times before you publish, I was so relieved. I used to compare myself to others that I imagined rose from their bed rosy fresh and bright eyed, shook their head and every hair fell into place, and put on clothes from the dryer that had nary a wrinkle. I’m realistic now, but I also used to assume your wonderful prose flowed easily to the paper and was posted as is. Thank you for being so honest. Again, it’s encouraging and instructive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Mary.I enjoy encouraging writers like you and Annie who have a distinctive voice. and before you think, “I don’t have good voice, please read the following evidence: “…others that I imagined rose from their bed rosy fresh and bright eyed, shook their head and every hair fell into place, and put on clothes from the dryer that had nary a wrinkle.” Now that’s voice and wit combined.(I read it to Joel and he chuckled and agreed.)

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s